Final confirmation: Ethereum hard fork Istanbul will take place on 7th December 2019

  • The Ethereum community manager Hudson Jameson has finalized the activation of the Ethereum hard fork Istanbul for the 7th of December 2019.
  • At the time of writing, about 27 percent of all nodes have already updated their clients. 

On the 7th of December 2019 Ethereum will activate the Istanbul hard fork in the Mainnet as scheduled, at block number 9.069.000. This was confirmed by Hudson Jameson in a post published yesterday on the Ethereum blog. Due to the variable block times, the exact time cannot be predicted exactly.

Jameson called on all Ethereum node operators in the blog post to update the Ethereum core software before Sunday, December 1, 2019, so that the upgrade can go smoothly. According to statistics, 26.8 percent of all Ethereum clients are “Istanbul-ready” at the time of writing.

This means that about a quarter of all node operators have installed the new software. However, the remaining clients still have to be upgraded to the newest version: Geth V. 1.9.7, Parity V. 2.5.10, Besu V. 1.3.4, Nethermind V.1.1.8, ethereumJS V. 4.0.2, Trinity V. 0.1.0-alpha.30 or Aleth V. 1.7.1. However, the crypto community expects a large majority to install the upgrade in time and successfully activate the upgrade.


Ethereum clients that do not upgrade to the latest version will be synchronized with the pre-fork blockchain once the upgrade is complete. As a result, they will be stuck in an incompatible, outdated Ethereum blockchain and will not be able to send Ether (ETH) or work on the Ethereum network after the upgrade.

Ethereum owners, on the other hand, do not need to take any action when using an exchange (such as Coinbase or Binance), a web wallet service (such as MyEtherWallet or Metamask), a mobile wallet service (such as Atomic Wallet, Trust Wallet) or a hardware wallet (such as Ledger, Trezor or KeepKey) unless the provider provides information about any additional steps.

The changes of the Istanbul hard fork

The Istanbul hard fork is the 8th Ethereum network upgrade. As a result of the strong growth of the Ethereum developer community last year, Istanbul is the largest upgrade to date in terms of the proposed 30 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). Out of these, six EIPs were considered ready for implementation under the first part of the Istanbul Hard Fork. A second part will follow in the first quarter of 2020, with 8 EIPs accepted by now.

The first part of Istanbul will focus on the fundamentals for the transition from Ethereum to a scalable Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network, improvements in resistance to denial of service attacks and increased interoperability between Ethereum and ZCash. Specifically, the implementation of the following EIPs is planned:

  • EIP-152: creates the prerequisite to test the Equihash PoW within the framework of an Ethereum contract. This enables relay and Atomic Swap transactions with Zcash (ZEC).
  • EIP-1108: makes zk-SNARKs cheaper, so that more cost-effective scaling and data protection applications can be created.
  • EIP-1344: adds ChainID opcode for contracts to track the correct chain on state channels and plasma.
  • EIP-1884: prevents spamming attacks by changing the cost of some EVM opcodes.
  • EIP-2028: Makes zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs cheaper by reducing the gas cost of accessing data within a transaction.
  • EIP-2200: changes the EVM cost calculation (adjustment of SSTORE gas costs taking into account SLOAD gas cost change).

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About Author

Jake Simmons has been a crypto enthusiast since 2016, and since hearing about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, he's been involved with the subject every day. Beyond cryptocurrencies, Jake studied computer science and worked for 2 years for a startup in the blockchain sector. At CNF he is responsible for technical issues. His goal is to make the world aware of cryptocurrencies in a simple and understandable way.

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