It seems that Christmas is coming earlier for users of Ethereum. The blockchain behind the second-largest cryptocurrency is about to see what is known as the “Istanbul” hard fork or blockchain update, which is one of the network’s few-and-far-between and important named upgrades.
According to Etherscan, an Ethereum-centric data and information platform, Istanbul will activate on Block #9069000, expected to take place around 30 minutes away as of the time of writing this.
But this may leave you wondering, what exactly is Istanbul?
Well, it’s an upgrade that will introduce a number of key changes, six to be exact:
EIP 1679: An EIP listing the protocol changes that will be included in Istanbul. That’s all.
EIP-2200: This EIP will change how the cost of the storage of data is calculated in Ethereum’s Virtual Machine, and will also give smart contracts the ability to execute more functions.
EIP-1884: This EIP will change the transaction cost of some EVM opcodes “to prevent spamming attacks and to and to balance the amount of computation in each block better.”
EIP-2028: This EIP will allow for zero-knowledge SNARKs and STARKs technology cheaper on the Ethereum blockchain, reducing the cost of “calling data within outputs.”
EIP-1344: This EIP will “add a way for contracts to keep track of the Ethereum chain they are on.”
EIP-1108: This EIP will make zero-knowledge SNARKs cheaper, allowing for cheaper scaling and privacy technologies.
EIP-152: “Adds the ability to verify the Equihash PoW within an ethereum contract. This will enable a relay and atomic-swap transactions between Zcash and Ethereum.”
Oddly, it appears that a majority of nodes are still not ready to support the update. EtherNodes, a website tracking nodes running Ethereum, notes that 50% (1263) of the nodes running the geth client are not ready to adopt Istanbul, while 53% (439) of the Parity clients are not ready as well. In aggregate, 50.6% of Ethereum full nodes are not yet ready to embrace the blockchain upgrade.