Ethereum's Byzantium Hard Fork Postponed For Further Testing

The planned roll-out date for ethereum's "Byzantium" network upgrade is being postponed to October 17.

AccessTimeIconSep 22, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:57 a.m. UTC
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The planned roll-out date for ethereum's "Byzantium" upgrade is being postponed by just over a week.

The hard fork for Byzantium – the first leg in ethereum's Metropolis update – will now occur at block number 4,370,000, or about October 17 given current block production metrics. The original expected launch date was October 9, barring any complications during testing.

The delay follows a suggestion made by ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who recommended in a core developer discussion today that the platform should be conservative relative to previous forks.

"We're not in an emergency situation," Buterin said.

The suggestion was made, in part, in order to nudge miners into adopting the hard fork more successfully. This is because the difficulty increase intended to incentivize miners to swap onto a different chain has not become too high, and blocks would still be mineable throughout October.

Buterin wanted to push the release right to the end of the month, but was discouraged due to the scheduling clash with the ethereum developer conference in early November. 

The date for the hard fork is now "pretty much final" according to developer Hudson Jameson – unless of course, something goes wrong in the test period.

The testing phase for Byzantium on the Ropsten testnet officially kicked off on Tuesday, and to date everything is running as expected. The blockchain even verified its first private transaction following the fork.

However, that's not to say it hasn't been without some minor hiccups. A malicious user attacked the Byzantium testnet yesterday filling entire blocks with expensive spam contracts. However, Buterin dismissed the attack as "fairly inconsequential."

Going forward, coordinated efforts, described by Buterin as "groups of people throwing whatever junk on the ethereum blockchain that they want to" will continue on Ropsten to ensure that all ethereum clients can handle the changes that are incorporated into Byzantium. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article displayed the incorrect block number. This has been corrected.

Clock in sand image via Shutterstock

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