Ethereum core developers set tentative date for ‘Berlin’ hard fork at January

  • The Ethereum core developers have set a tentative date for deployment of the Berlin hard fork for January 2021.
  • Despite the proposal, the restructuring of the Ethereum fee mechanism with EIP-1559 will not be included.

In the last bi-weekly call of the Ethereum Core developers, several proposals for the blockchain were discussed. Among them, one of the most important was the Berlin hard fork. After delaying the hard fork in the middle of this year, it seems that the update could occur a few weeks after the deployment of the beacon chain which has a tentative date for the end of November.

Berlin is an update for the current “Ethereum 1.0” blockchain which is operating with the proof of work. Berlin aims to introduce improvements to the blockchain while building on Ethereum’s 2.0 proof-of-stake blockchain occurs. The hard fork will be the next one after Istanbul which was deployed on mainnet in January.

The update was postponed at the end of June due to its “critical dependence” on the Geth client. A failure in the client could have caused a complete breakdown of the Ethereum blockchain. Therefore, the developers decided to wait until a multi-client fork could be implemented.

At the developer’s call, the coordinator of Eth 2.0, Danny Ryan, stated that the deployment of Berlin was subject to development in critical areas. In addition, consensus, notification time, and implementation will be required to meet its early deployment in 2021. Developer Tim Beiko also gave a summary of the meeting via Twitter and wrote the following:

This is a rough estimate, but if we didn’t think about BLS curves, it’s likely we could get Berlin out around mid-January. Again, this assumes everything goes well, that we have consensus on everything, etc. It’s basically the implementation + notice time required to do it right.

Changes in Ethereum’s Berlin hard fork

According to the original plan, Berlin was supposed to introduce 3 EIPs: EIP-2315, EIP-2929, EIP-2537. The first one is supposed to add simple subroutines for the Ethereum Virtual Machine. The other two suggest adding a gas cost increment for state access opcodes and BLS12-381 operation curves respectively.

However, EIP 2537 will no longer be included in Berlin. The EIP would have made it easier for the Eth 2.0 blockchain and Eth 1.x blockchain to speak with each other by using a similar cryptographic setup. The two other EIPs will be included in a short-run testnet dubbed “YOLO v3” set for release in the upcoming weeks. In order to maintain a roadmap for introducing the changes that will not occur with Berlin, Beiko indicated that the developers agreed on the following:

(…) the decision is that unless anything changes over the next two weeks, EIP-2537 is out of YOLOv3 and isn’t in Berlin, and we’re moving forward with the rest of the EIPs in YOLOv3.

Another proposal that will not be introduced with Berlin is EIP-1559. One of the most commented during the DeFi sector boom due to the high fees on the network, the EIP-1559 proposes a change in the Ethereum fees mechanism. However, for now, applications are asked to take advantage of second-layer scaling solutions to improve and reduce costs when using Ethereum. Therefore, EIP-1559 has been removed from the list for now.

About Author

Reynaldo Marquez has closely followed the growth of Bitcoin and blockchain technology since 2016. He has since worked as a columnist on crypto coins covering advances, falls and rises in the market, bifurcations and developments. He believes that crypto coins and blockchain technology will have a great positive impact on people's lives.

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