Ethereum Hard Fork In Progress

The planned Ethereum network hard fork, codenamed Metropolis, is well and truly underway. Beginning on September 18 with the first phase, called Byzantium, is expected to mitigate the consequences and actions of malicious presences within the broader Ethereum network.

Ethereum creator and lead developer Vitalik Buterin, announced on Twitter only a day after Byzantium had gone live on testnet that Ethereum had just verified its first zk-snark proof transaction. He then thanked the ZCash development team for their support in the endeavour.

The Tweet is seen as further evidence that the potential for zero-knowledge (zk) proofs is real. This cryptography technology was first used and promoted by the developers of anonymous cryptocurrency ZCash and is touted as a method for truly anonymous transaction. This is due to it verifying ledger entries without revealing the identity of either receiver or sender.

Unlike the Bitcoin hard fork issues, Metropolis has received wide support from the Ethereum community, although this is arguably credit to its somewhat centralised approach in development.

Its creators see the hard fork proposal as a necessary technological upgrade and scalability solution, given increased usage and application of the Ethereum network. This has been true particularly among businesses and governments seeking to further explore the Ethereum ecosystem.

The second phase of Metropolis – Constantinople – is due to roll out sometime in October 2017. Once completed, a significant change will be the ongoing shift from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, with miner rewards reduced to 3 ETH from its current 5 ETH.