Did you miss our Jan, 15 livestream AMA on the upcoming Casper hard fork for Ethereum? Just have questions about the fork or just want to learn what it means? Check out our recording and partial transcript below.
Update: Constantinople has been postponed. Stay tuned for further updates for any impacts to Huobi users.
Ross Zhang (Moderator)
Ethereum Community Lead and Assistant to the COO at Huobi Group.
Co-founder of Prysmatic Labs. Raul studied computer science at Harvard University and is a Thiel Fellow now working on layer 1 scalability for the protocol.
Rust core developer at Parity Technologies, working on Ethereum and Ethereum 2.0 development. Author of SputnikVM and Rux microkernel.
Ethereum Hardfork Coordinator and Parity Technologies’ Ethereum Release Manager
Executive Director of Ethereum Community Fund.
Ethereum community member and member of Omisego and Bitfish.
Livestream /AMA SESSION:
Question #1: What does the ETH community think about this hard fork?
QJ Wang: I don’t know if I am able to speak for the community. I think overall, we are excited about the changes to the upcoming upgrade. The fact that we will make it more effective, less gas will be consumed, and it will be easier for people to use.
This is a positive change that Ethereum has wanted but we read some angry Reddit’s like miners especially acid miners not super happy about this threating to leave. This is something that will happen when you need to make changes because there is existing stakeholder benefiting from the current situation. To answer the question if miners will switch, I think it would even be worse if the price goes dropping still with this trend. If we really don’t do anything to slow down inflation it would potentially not keep them for longer term benefits. So, we will just have to stay tuned for the progress.
Question #2: How does the Constantinople hard fork affect smart contracts and Dapps?
Wei: The Constantinople fork has a total of five EIPs [Ethereum Improvement Proprosal]. These EIPs help smart contracts and DApps automate manual tasks and make it faster to complete some other tasks. The DApp developers don’t need to do anything different.
Question #3: What is ETH 2.0? What is the status of ETH development? When will the test net be launched?
Raul: To create Ethereum 2.0, we merged two research teams. One team was working on Casper Proof of Stake and the other was sharding because both have similarities. For example, both require security pools that come from a set of validators. So essentially, the whole system will be a new blockchain from scratch. It’ll be a pure Casper Proof of Stake blockchain, where a user will then be able to send their current ETH they have to a smart contract which will then cue you in as validator on this new chain. Essentially, we want to be able to leverage the current value of ETH and its security to onboard and create a whole new chain which has a lot of security guarantees and is ready to take on the next step of the network. Lastly, the amount of 32 ETH will be needed to become a validator.
To answer your question, my team is doing a test net in Q1 2019, that is in these next few months. So, expect to see a lot more information coming soon!
Question#4: How do you see the Constantinople hard fork projects working on layer two scale?
David: It’s super exciting to watch the Ethereum virtual machine evolve. Essentially, a lot of the EIP’s that are being implemented are to improve the efficiency of ETH. Each operation, has a gas cost and as ETH evolves, everyone has a better idea with regard to how much strain on the system each opcode takes and so everyone is able to discuss it and we’ve actually refined the opcode gas cost and introduced a new exciting op codes like create two which is super big for layer two solution so there is a lot of things in this hard fork that is super exciting.
Question#5: What do you suggest users of ETH to do before and after the hard fork?
David: So, because this is a hard fork that has been agreed upon by most of the community, most users will not have to do anything.
Raul: Users should be extra carefully during the hard fork. People may make false claims to double your coins during this hard fork.
Question#6: How will the Constantinople hard fork effect the price of Ethereum?
QJ: Whenever I do trading and think it will go up, it usually goes in the opposite direction (laughs). I am overall bullish in any case, for the greater good.
Ross: Statistically speaking, the price usually goes up when the hard fork is coming but then after the hard fork, the price usually goes down a bit.
Question#7: Can you give normal users an explanation about what the Constantinople hard fork is and what the impact will be on the Ethereum network?
Afri: So first, a hard fork technical means that changes introduced to the protocol are not backwards compatible. The changes are most likely not relevant to end users. One proposal, EIP 1234, is the part about the difficult bomb. It affects investors and miners. It allows miners to mine Ethereum proof of work blockchain for another twelve months. Also, the rewards will go down to two ETH. Other than that, the other proposals are targeted at smart contract and developer.
So first, a hard fork technically means that changes introduced to the protocol are not backwards compatible. These changes are most likely not relevant to end users. However, one proposal, EIP 1234, affects investors and miners. This is the one about the difficulty bomb – it will allow miners to mine Ethereum proof of work blockchain for another twelve months. Also, the rewards will go down to two ETH. Other than that, the other proposals are targeted at developers
So first, a hard fork technically means that changes introduced to the protocol are not backwards compatible. These changes are most likely not relevant to end users. However, one proposal, EIP 1234, affects investors and miners. This is the one about the difficulty bomb – it will allow miners to mine Ethereum proof of work blockchain for another twelve months. Also, the rewards will go down to two ETH. Other than that, the other proposals are targeted at developers.
Question#7: How many nodes have upgraded to Constantinople?
Afri: I don’t know how many upgraded. I think end-users that are running Ethereum blockchain around 50% have upgraded.
Ross: Just to let our viewers know, Huobi Global will support the Constantinople hard fork.
Question#8: When Ethereum enters Serenity, it will be using Proof of Stake instead of Proof of Work. Are there any transition plans to cut off Proof of Work?
Raul: Originally Casper/ Proof of Stake was supposed to be an overlay hybrid mechanism on top of the current chain, so the idea is that we would have some sort of way to finalize blocks on the Proof of Work chain by using a partial Proof of Stake system built into a smart contract. This plan has been deprecated in favor of a plan that would launch a fool proof stake chain from scratch by itself. We ideally want this to be the new Ethereum chain enabled with sharding and smart contract execution down the line. So, with respect to a transition, we do want to encourage a full switch to a Proof of Stake chain. This would entail having users that hold ETH like current miners and anyone that holds ETHER in the network to deposit ETHER into this new chain and become validators. Additionally, we want to be able to transfer the current state of the Ethereum blockchain into a state on a shard in the future. We don’t want to cause any extremely breaking changes to how people interact with Ethereum today. We want all smart contracts and Daps to continue. Ideally, this will be a major overhaul to security and scalability. We want to do it for the better. With respect to proof of work and proof of stake, there is a lot to discuss in regard to that, there are a lot more security guarantees with proof of stake.
David: Sure, I can jump in, Proof of Work has been around longer, but I am excited about Proof of Stake. For me, I really like having the consensus mechanism rely on value that’s intrinsic to the protocol as opposed to a bunch of external factors. Proof of Work deals with electricity cost and hardware to the protocol. Plus, Proof of stake is better for the environment which is icing on the cake.
Ross: QJ want to talk about POW (Proof of Work) to POS (Proof of Stake)?
QJ: The promise has always been to shift from POW to POS. The fact is that it would allow more people to enter and participate in ETH.
Raul: I think there is a lot more work that needs to be done about how exactly it works, what the community needs to do, and understanding what can go wrong. It’s not just a money printing machine, like earn and keep constantly getting rewards. Educating the community on what it means to be a validator.
Wei: I think both Proof of Work and Proof of Stake have positives and negatives. Proof of Work is simple to work and get rewards. Proof of Work has been around for around nine years, but it is of course coming with a lot of vanity [history] and can only get probabilistic blocks. So, the finality cannot be like determined but for Proof of Stake involves using less energy.
Questions#9: How should we give incentives to miners to become a validator?
David: I think it all really goes back to education to get miners and other kind of large players within the Ethereum ecosystem to buy into Casper and to get them to understand it, to get them to understand why they should participate.
Question#10: For EIP 1234, I understand that you propose a delay in Casper and Proof of Stake development how will you think the block rewards will maintain the block reward of the system]?
Afri: EIP 1234 will slowly kick in the difficulty bomb while the chain gets longer and longer. The difficult bomb will allow miners another twelve months to mine. However, the reward will slowly go down throughout this time. There are two different angles being addressed miners and going towards POS.
Question#11: When will be the complete shift to POS (Proof of Stake)? Will there be another hard fork around the way?
Raul: POS is part of ETH 2.0. It will be setup in many phases. The first stage will be the POS chain, where people can deposit 32 ETH to become validator and to get rewards. Test nets and main nets will be released this year. Phase 1 and onward will introduce sharding and other concepts later in the end 2019. There will not be another hard fork, the new chain will be released, and a smart contract will find the ETH 2.0 which will move into the new process.
Questions#12: What will the TPS (Transactions Per Second) be after the fork? What do you see as the killer smart contract or Daps for ETH?
David: My understanding is that Transactions per Second will not change that much post fork. The chain will just be more efficient and will keep running – business as usual – because the difficult bomb is being delayed. In term of killer DApps, I am excited for ETH 2.0 because I feel like once we have shards and beacon chains, ETH will be able to support killer DApps. Right now, smart contracts can do a lot of things, but at scale it is difficult to use them.
Question#13: Why was Proof of Stake chosen for Ethereum?
Raul: Proof of State was chosen because Ethereum 2.0 wants to be World War III proof. We want to be able to survive a lot of validators being offline. This is in line with both Casper models.
Question#14: What is ETH network or the foundation of the community doing to promote more use cases with Proof of Stake consensus mechanism?
David: I am excited about not having to worry about probabilistic finality, so with Proof of Work you must wait for a certain amount of confirmations to occur before you consider a transaction finalized. Essentially, (with Proof of Stake ) you don’t have to deal with probabilistic finality, so as soon as enough validators sign a block you can count it as finalized right away. This will help a lot of smart contracts.
Question#15: What is the current strategy with resolving error production?
Wei: If there’s any consensus error that happens, we just investigate the code as fast as we can and try and fix the bug, then do a release of the software. The other problem we need to think about is how to prevent a consensus error from ever happening. We ensure all the software is running correctly and spinning out new test nets to ensure the new consensus is working correctly. These will ensure that a single consensus state will happen, and all our developers are concentrating that this doesn’t happen.
Questions#16: What do I need to do with my cryptocurrency wallet before or after the fork?
Afri: Nothing needs to be done to the wallet.