Ethereum Istanbul upgrade tentatively scheduled for December 6, here is everything you want to know

The 8th network upgrade of Ethereum is coming soon.

The eighth hard fork of Ethereum will begin on December 6, 2019. A hard fork is equivalent to a "network upgrade." The exact date may change depending on the time and time zone. The countdown to Istanbul's hard fork can be viewed on Etherscan.


Istanbul is one of the hard forks of Ethereum and will be completed before the arrival of Serenity (Ethereum 2.0). After Serenity, Ethereum will transition from the current PoW mechanism to the PoS mechanism.

This upgrade will be carried out at block height 9069000, and the expected start time is Friday, December 6, 2019.

The upgrade brought by Istanbul will change the cost of various opcodes to prevent the emergence of junk transaction blocks and improve the overall flexibility of DoS attacks. This upgrade will enable higher interoperability between Ethereum and Zcash, as well as with other Equihash-based PoW cryptocurrencies. Improvements to opcodes will also improve the scalability of solutions based on zero-knowledge privacy technologies such as snark and STARKs.

What EIPs are involved in the Istanbul upgrade?

EIP is an Ethereum improvement proposal. EIP is discussed before each Ethereum hard fork. Everyone can submit an EIP and put forward their views on the improvement of the Ethereum network. The upgrade involved a total of 11 EIPs, and 6 of them were finally selected. The following are the EIPs accepted by the Istanbul upgrade:

EIP-152 : Added Blake2 compression function F precompiled. This EIP will enable the BLAKE2b hash function and other higher integer 64-bit BLAKE2 variables to run on EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) at a lower cost, facilitating interoperability between Ethereum and Zcash and other Equihash-based PoW coins Sex.

EIP-1108 : Reduce alt_bn128 precompiled gas cost, because elliptic curve algorithm precompilation is currently overpriced. Repricing the precompiler will benefit many privacy and extension solutions on Ethereum.

EIP-1344 : At present, there is no specification on how to set a chain ID for a specific network, but it depends on the choices made manually by the client makers and the community. The EIP proposes using a chain ID to prevent replay attacks between different chains, and when processing signatures, it would be beneficial to have the same possibility in smart contracts, especially in terms of layer 2 signature schemes.

EIP-1844 : The rapid growth of Ethereum state has caused some opcodes to consume more resources than before. Therefore, the EIP re-prices certain opcodes to strike a good balance between gas expenditure and resource consumption.

EIP-2028 : Calling data on the chain requires payment of gas on the Ethereum network. This EIP will reduce the gas value from the current 68 / byte to 16 / byte, which will help increase the bandwidth, because a single block can contain more data.

EIP-2200 : Provides a structured definition of net gas measurement changes for SSTORE opcodes, opens up new applications for contract storage, and reduces unnecessary gas costs that do not match most deployment tasks

What should Ethereum users do?

If you own or use Ethereum with the following service providers, then you do not need to do anything:

  • Hold or trade Ethereum through mobile wallets such as MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet
  • Hold Ethereum on exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance, Kraken
  • Use a hardware wallet like Ledger or Trezor

Some of these service providers may notify you to take other actions, so just make sure you follow them.

What do nodes do?

Ethereum is a decentralized peer-to-peer network, so anyone who is currently running the Ethereum infrastructure will need to update their software to a "fork-ready" version of the Ethereum client, and should Completed by December 1.

If you are using Infura, no changes are required. Infura is ready and doesn't require you to take any action. Infura has been running a reliable Ethereum infrastructure for more than three years and has demonstrated its ability to handle large-scale updates during a hard fork of the network. They will be responsible for upgrading so you can continue to build great software.

If you "miss the fork" and fail to upgrade the software in a timely manner, then you will not be able to accurately view the source of the blockchain data. Once you miss the fork, you have to resynchronize your nodes on the Ethereum blockchain, which can take hours or even days.

How does a node prepare to fork?

Check the software update statement on the client web page regularly:

1. Look at the fork upgrade to determine if your application needs to make any changes, or if any users will be affected.

2. Update your nodes before forking the block.

What's next?

Ethereum 1.0 will undergo several regular hard forks after the Istanbul upgrade, and these upgrades are committed to the short-term popularity of the network. More information about Ethereum 1.0 and the improvements and upgrades made by the team behind it can be found here and here .

You can read the roadmap about Serenity, including all the stages of implementing PoS on Ethereum.

The first phase of Serenity will witness the launch of Beacon Chain, a PoS blockchain, and will mark the execution of a long-term plan from PoW to PoS. The beacon chain will coexist with the original Ethereum PoW chain, ensuring that the two chains will not be interrupted.