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Ethereum’s Byzantium Hard Fork Is In a Week: What You Need to Know

Ethereum’s network upgrade Byzantium is set to go live October 16-17, 2017, a hard-fork in which all Ethereum’s nodes will shift uniformly.

Who’s Forking What?

Ethereum’s core developers are forking Ethereum’s incumbent chain.

The Plan?

Byzantium is the first part of the major, two-pronged network upgrade known as “Metropolis.” Vitalik Buterin and the rest of Ethereum’s core developers have divided Metropolis into two phases: Byzantium and Constantinople.

Both phases of Metropolis will necessitate hard-forks, so Byzantium is the first of two. The date of the Constantinople hard-fork is as yet undetermined.

Trigger Block Number?

The trigger block number for the Byzantium fork is 4,370,000.


Byzantium provides new features for Ethereum, with these features being focused on improving 1) performance and 2) security. After Byzantium, the network should move faster and be less burdened. Moreover, this upgrade builds the foundation for new privacy upgrades in the future.

Is This Anything Like the Bitcoin Forks? Can I Make Money Off the Fork?

No, and no.

The Byzantium upgrade has beyond super-majority consensus in the Ethereum community, unlike the contentious scaling debate Bitcoiners are facing right now.

Accordingly, the old (but currently incumbent) Ethereum chain won’t have any mining power once this 1st phase of Metropolis goes live, rendering that chain obsolete.

So no, there likely will not be 3 Ethereum coins. When Ethereum Classic conducted its own chain split, it did so on strong ideological grounds. With one week left to go until the current split, there is no similar principled resistance to this “update” fork in the Ethereum community.

Watch Out For Scams

There will inevitably be phishers out before and during October 16-17, trying to convince Ethereum users they need to upgrade this, or claim that. These are scams: do not click.

Ethereum Clients Are Releasing Updates

For example, Go Ethereum (Geth) published their update already. Most others should have their updates done around October 14th.

What’s This Mean for Ether’s Price?

While Bitcoin FOMO/FUD in the face of the coming hard-forks will surely drive the market in the short-term, Ethereum’s latest upgrade is bullish pressure for the price of Ether in the mid-term.

TLDR: Next week the major upgrade Byzantium is set to hit Ethereum, meaning its network will perform better and safer than ever before. 

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William M. Peaster is a cryptocurrency journalist and copy-editor based out of El Paso, Texas. He's an avid fan of Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens, and smart contracts in general.

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