The Ethereum developers have postponed the Constantinople update to the next year, although earlier on they planned to finish it in December. The decision was made due to an error while the update was...tested in the test network.
Let us review what is to happen with Ethereum given that Vitalik Buterin wants to remove the traditional mining from the cryptocurrency.
What went wrong?
Let's dive into the problems faced by the Ethereum developers when they tested the Constantinople update.
At first, the blockchain got frozen, which was most likely an unknown bug occurrence. Then, the hardfork officially took place, but the blockchain did not process transactions. It was the most natural sabotage on the part of the miners who simply did not update their software. The developers had to ask them to proceed with the new update. To add, Constantinople is an interim update and after its implementation, the Ethereum network will remain its usual Proof of Work mining algorithm. The difference is that the mining reward will drop from 3 to 2 ETH. However, the miners didn’t welcome this features.
And as the icing on the cake, when the Constantinople went live in the test network, three network clients lost consensus between each other. Meaning instead of the single blockchain, they’ve got three different ones that cannot interact with each other.
As a result, instead of improving the blockchain, Buterin and the company almost killed the test network, although it’s better to kill the trial networks instead of the main net. Bear in mind this is only a preparatory stage for the subsequent transition to the Casper Protocol and the Proof of Stake mining.
Why Move to the POS Mining
Here’s a question: why aren’t there are other ways to improve the Ethereum blockchain? Because it’s too late to go back and here’s why:
- At the very beginning of the project, it was planned to use the Proof of Stake algorithm for Ethereum. But it was unfinished and the developers carried on with the traditional Proof of Work mining. A clever solution was implemented to return to POS eventually. It’s called difficulty bomb which is to make the POW mining eventually impossible. If nobody does anything to solve it, the entire network will come to a halt.
2. Ethereum is constantly pushed around by TRON and EOS blockchains as they already offer a faster and cheaper blockchain. Cardano is also on its way to dominating the market so something has to be updated soon.
3. Ethereum cannot rely on the sub-level solutions in a way Bitcoin does with Lightning Network because these two blockchains have different goals in mind. That is why the scalability issue of Ethereum should be revamped.
Besides, the Proof of Work mining should be stopped because the amount of empty blocks mined has been increased by 600% since recently. There are no transactions recorded in the empty blocks, so no real benefits for the network. They are mined faster though so the miners opt in to mine the cryptocurrency as much as possible before the developers reduce the reward.
As of now, it’s hard to predict how many more bugs the Ethereum developers will have to fix before the network is updated with Constantinople hardfork and then Casper. That is because no one has ever done anything like this on the scale of such a popular cryptocurrency. But the hardfork is to be and all that can change is its timing.
As for miners, they cannot go against the entire community and cancel the transition to Proof of Stake algorithm. However, they are guaranteed to try increasing their importance in the Ethereum ecosystem and make it so that they become the first to switch to a new mining method.