Ethereum’s Istanbul hard fork goes live in seamless upgrade

Planned hard fork in Blockchain will give Ethereum the potential to reach 3,000 transactions per second

Ethereum (ETH) successfully completed its second system-wide upgrade of the year this weekend, when the much-anticipated “Istanbul” hard fork went live, a development that Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin believes will bring explosive growth in the number of transactions the network can handle.

Buterin has previously said the Istanbul hard fork will give the Ethereum platform the potential to reach 3,000 transactions per second, up from around 15 transactions at present.

The upgrade, which went live late on Saturday, was the first hard fork since the so-called ‘Constantinople’ hard fork in February 2019, and is part of a wider development effort that began in 2017 called ‘Metropolis’.

A number of major crypto exchanges have already announced their support for the upgrade.

Traders, however, were left largely unruffled for the time being. Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, was little changed on Monday morning, down around 1 per cent on the day at $149.19 (£113.50, €135.09). The bears have been firmly in charge of the ETH this year, leaving the price struggling to gain much traction since hitting an 11-month high above $360 in June this year.

Rival Bitcoin has doubled in price in 2019 compared with Ethereum’s mere 13-percent gain. The Istanbul hard fork is largely geared towards tightening security and privacy, as well as speeding up authentication of blockchain data and is a key part of boosting network capacity, which has come under repeated strain in the last couple of years.

As a result, traders have given Ethereum the cold shoulder. Transactions on the network reached around 440,000 on Sunday, their lowest since February this year, and well below their peak of 1.15 million at their peak in early January 2018, according to Etherscan.io.

This will be the last hard fork, or major change in blockchain protocol, ahead of Ethereum 2.0, known as ‘Berlin’, which is scheduled for the second quarter of next year, and could prove to be price-positive, according to cryptocurrency analyst Nivesh Rustgi.

“The network continues to project a growth path with increased adoption and reduced inflation. Hence, with the tech upgrades, if it continues to dominate the space, we could see an upside to the price as well,” he said in a note.

FURTHER READING: Next ethereum upgrade ‘Istanbul’ slated for December 4

FURTHER READING: What is ethereum?

FURTHER READING: ETH price technical analysis (26 July-1 Aug): is $3,000 on the cards?

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