The hard fork, however, sparked controversy about the nodes being ready for the update

Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency to date, pushed the so-called “Istanbul” hard fork as of block number 9,069,000. The software update contains six vital code overhauls, to accommodate for the long-awaited “ Proof-of-Stake” (PoS) upgrade.

The hard fork comes with increased overall network efficiency, as most of the updates are focused on reducing the cost for transactions, dubbed “Gas”. Other updated include opcode cost adjustments, increasing the efficiency of transactions, and security enhancements.

The Istanbul hard fork is a year-long project, involving the entire Ethereum community. The six Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP) received mixed emotions from the ETH holders, some of them arguing that the new update would break smart contracts like 680 Aragon because Aragon uses fixed “gas” prices for transactions.

One of the most critical updates with Istanbul is the improved Ethereum - Zcash interoperability by updating the network to accept BLAKE2b hash functionality. The update also lowers the “gas” needed for the communication between the blockchains.

Scalability also received a boost, as the gas price per Calldata block is reduced from 68 to 16 gas per byte. Also, a more significant chunk of information would fit into a block, resulting in higher bandwidth.

However, the Ethereum network is not quite ready to take on the update, as 15% of the total nodes do not show signs of updating to the latest Ethereum client. While users are all set to go, Ethereum miners and software companies have to rework their codes, or they would not be able to access the Ethereum blockchain.

Other issues include problems with Parity - a trendy Ethereum client. Parity released an emergency update shortly after the Istanbul hard fork. Austin Roberts, CEO of crypto research company OpenRelay, stated his concerns that the entire Ethereum ecosystem is dependent on clients like Parity. “The latest emergency patch disproves Parity as the “Fastest and most Advanced Ethereum Client”. The quality control is poor!” Roberts stated in a Twitter post.

Despite the ETH community concerns, the biggest exchanges in the world are quickly updating their protocols. Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken already updated to the latest version of the Ethereum code.

The update, however, did not influence Ethereum’s price, as the #2 crypto received a boost in price shortly after the update, but quickly fell back to the levels before the fork. As of press time, Ethereum is trading at $149.42, with $16,256,396,270 in market capitalization.

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