The Berlin hard fork is another major upgrade of the Ethereum network that leads us to the implementation of Ethereum 2.0 and the ultimate transition of the network to the Proof of Stake algorithm. In this article, we will present you a collection of the most important information about the events in the Ethereum network. The Berlin update introduces several important EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal), around which for a moment was very loud in the crypto world.
Berlin Hard Fork
Why do Ethereum network updates matter at all? When looking for the latest news about the platform (or its price forecast for 2021), we are able to find a lot of information about numerous changes taking place in it. Even though these types of web updates are relatively technical, they can still be important to the basics of the entire platform. Considering that Ethereum has recently achieved only records – it may seem that there has never been a more important moment to follow its upcoming updates. Of course, Ethereum was not the only highlight of the cryptocurrency sector in 2021. In the three months since the start of the year, we saw Bitcoin prices rise significantly to around $ 60,000 as well as increased interest in NFT markets like Rarible or OpenSea. Moreover, we were surprised by the creation of Binance Smart Chain and the growing interest in both BSC DeFi and BEP-20 tokens.
Ethereum and EIP network updates
Ethereum’s network updates are nothing new. Despite long-awaited London Hard Fork and Berlin Hard Fork, this is not the first time that we have seen such a form of change in Ethereum. Longtime followers of the platform are likely to enjoy memories of historic web updates such as Ethereum Spurious Dragon, Ethereum Byzantium, Ethereum Constantinople, or Ethereum St. St. Petersburg.
At the end of 2019, the Ethereum Istanbul update was released, which was the last Hard Fork before the Berlin update. Of course, other significant updates introduced in 2020 should also be mentioned. Such as Ethereum Muir update, Medalla test network launch and Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain.
Platform network updates often include various “Ethereum Improvement Proposition” (EIP). More specifically, EIPs express, for example, standards for the core specifications of the Ethereum protocols, contract standards, and client APIs. Anyone can suggest their ideas for the EIP and the community decides whether to adopt them.
Ethereum Berlin Hard Fork
As of April 15, 2021, the launch of the Berlin Hard Fork update has been officially confirmed. This network upgrade takes the form of a Hard Fork, i.e. a blockchain fork. Its name comes from the city where the Ethereum developer conference “Devcon” was held. The update includes four Platform Improvement Proposals (EIPs) that affect gas prices and propose new types of transactions. The Berlin Hard Fork is a step towards a much larger update, the London Hard Fork, which activates EIP 1559 – a momentous (and controversial) change in Ethereum’s pricing structure.
The proposal is about changing the way gas prices are defined in terms of modular compounding (more widely known as “ModExp”). Modular exponentiation is a discrete exponential function that is important for many cryptographic functions. The ModExp compiler is relatively expensive. The improvement aims to make it more useful in practice by lowering the gas price for ModExp and achieving strong randomness and safety, among others verifiable delay functions (VDF). Basically, it aims to promote the use of a wider range of crypto operations for Ethereum smart contracts.
Offer “machine transaction envelopes“, Aims to define a new type of transaction. In particular, it is planned to be the envelope for future Ethereum transaction types. Recognizes that new transaction types are difficult to add because they need to be backward compatible with others. By introducing something like a ‘wrapper’ or envelope for future types of transactions, the EIP in question aims to solve this problem.
Ethereum Improvement Proposal, co-authored by Vitalik Buterin and Martin Swende. Like EIP-2565, it addresses gas prices, however, in contrast, it is expected to increase some gas costs. Especially for operations (or “opcodes”) accessing a memory. Even though prices have been raised in the past, this has not deterred DDoS attacks. According to the EIP in question, the problem is that hackers can still force all nodes to participate in such attacks relatively cheaply. The upgrade is to increase the cost of the operation (more or less) threefold.
According to the summary of this EIP:
EIP-2930 adds a transaction type that includes an access list, a list of addresses and memory keys that the transaction plans to access. Off-list access is possible, but more expensive
Therefore, the update is to enable a new type of transaction for which access to the access list is cheaper. It is to build on EIP-2718 and bring the Asset List format to Ethereum. In addition, it is also to reduce the risk of contract breach,
The Berlin Hard Fork was originally scheduled for June or July 2020, but has been postponed due to centralization concerns around Geth, which is where most of the Ethereum nodes operate. This Hard Fork (making old Ethereum clients non-compatible with “upgrade clients”) is one of many on the way to Eth 2.0, Ethereum’s titanic transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.
Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain, currently owns over $ 8 billion ETH. This smart contract is like a bridge between the current Ethereum blockchain and the Ethereum 2.0 blockchain. It includes 32 ETH deposits needed to run validator nodes in the new network. These, in turn, are to replace the work of miners in the future.
Next stop, London
The London Hard Fork, which is the next big update to the network, is slated to start around July. Of course, the official date may still change. Its launch in July would mean that the test networks must be operational in June. Moreover, the selected EIPs will have to be tested and implemented in March or April.
Due to the Ethereum Core Dev Meeting on March 5, it is likely that a total of as many as six EIPs will become part of the London Hard Fork. However, the only upgrade proposal that has been officially presented so far as part of an update is EIP-1559. The upgrade is to include a “transaction valuation mechanism” that includes a fixed network fee to combat network congestion. There are concerns that this will reduce miners’ profits, but it could make Ether more valuable due to limited supply.