Hard forks are never easy.
By definition, such system-level updates require that each user of the software upgrade to new rules almost simultaneously, which means that there are coordination difficulties that need to be overcome to ensure that the code continues to run. work as designed. However, in an upcoming October update called Constantinople, ethereum faces a unique challenge: how to find a balance between a network of different stakeholders, each fighting for different results.
Making things more complex, there is a tough deadline for updating, currently set for October. Predicted in early 2019, a piece of code known as a bomb of difficulty is programmed in place, thus making the blocks of ethereum increasingly less efficient over time for mine.
If no action is taken, the trouble bomb will push ethereum into what is known as "glaciation", a period when the difficulty is so high that the transactions can no longer be processed, making the blockchain unusable.
Because delaying the difficulty bomb also affects ether inflation (the time required for mineblocks is directly related to the amount of ether distributed on the platform), ethereum is pressured to update its code before it hits the bomb.
But, at the moment, a path forward is not clear.
With a total of four proposals for ethereal improvement (EIP) currently under discussion, many argue that in delaying the difficulty bomb, Constantinope should also reduce the amount of ether that is currently paid to miners, the entities that handle hardware of specialized calculation to protect transactions.
However, miners are warning that too large a decrease in profits will reduce network security, forcing miners to effectively protect other cryptocurrencies. (Concerns are particularly important for GPU miners, who are currently competing with ASIC, specialized machines for the extraction of cryptocurrencies and little else.
While an exact timeline for Constantinople has yet to be finalized, developers they point at the end of October or November as the probable timeline for the update (after which they may risk to cross the bomb of difficulty), so in an upcoming meeting on Friday, it is likely that developers will finalize the EIPs to be included. in the next hard fork.
Parity Technologies Communications Manager, Afri Schoedon, told CoinDesk:
"We are moving towards a decision with quick steps now."
At the time of draft, there are three EIPs to be included in the next hard fork that are not at all controversial, and have already been implemented in code and are currently in test phase.
These include EIP 145, EIP 1014 and EIP 1052, which, respectively, seek to add new flexibility to the operations of ethereum, facilitating scaling measures such as status channels and increasing the speed at which contracts can be verified.  Apart from these, however, other proposals require careful coordination.
As reported by CoinDesk, much of the current division was broadcast last Friday, when developers started a public discussion with several representatives of the main stakeholders of the platform.
While no consensus was reached, several stakeholders brought social media to express their concerns.
In a post published on Monday, CTO of a mining startup named Atlantic Crypto, Brian Venturo, warned that "the security of the ethereum network is NOT something to compromise on". He supported EIP 1295 as the only proposal that does not potentially reduce security.
EIP 1295 does not reduce the issue, but rather reduces the amount of ether that is rewarded to the uncles, a type of block that accelerates transactions but is not
"If you reduce the reward of the block, you predicts that the price of a large percentage of hardware, "Venturo told CoinDesk, stating that such hardware could instead become available for attacks if the reward for malicious services is higher.
While miners are rejecting the emission reduction, at the same time, ETH operators are aiming to evaluate the declining market, saying that measures must be taken to preserve the value of the currency by limiting the 39; emission.
In a Twitter thread that compared the current bitcoin emission rate with ethereum, a trader named Eric Conner noted that if the reduction was lowered to 2 ETH, it does not slip lower than 39; current rat of bitcoin e.
According to Conner, such a reduction is necessary to preserve the value of the network.
"Fun fact! Over the past 365 days, the ethereum network paid $ 6.6 [billion] to the miners", Conner tweeted .
The addition to the criticism is that the founder of ethereum Vitalik Buterin has rejected against EIP 1295, writing about Github that could entail the further centralization of the mining pools
"I'm scared from this ", wrote Buterin.
Even an investor and fund manager named Spencer Noon has opposed the proposal.
"I am completely without support for EIP 1295 and question the motive of its author (Atlantic Crypto Corp)," Noon tweeted "ACC is a mining company managed by former hedge funders. This has nothing to do with "network security" – a reduction in the reward of the blocks would damage their bottom line. "
Several posts from Reddit followed a similar tone and, in response, the mining company withdrew its current proposal in favor of the discussion that the reduction of the issue should remain at 3 ETH.
"We agree that the emission denominated in ETH may be too high, but we also believe that adjusting it to current market conditions will put undue risk on the network's security scale," Venturo said. written on Github.
Speaking at a developer meeting on Friday, Casper developer Danny Ryan said a 2-ETH reduction would appear to be a "reasonable compromise" that could offset the interests of traders and miners. they are struggling to compete with ASICs, a removal of hardware from the platform through a change in proof-of-work would be another "reasonable compromise".
Toward this, a miner and GPU enthusiast named Kristy-Leigh Min ehan is supporting a correction of the code to be implemented in Constantinople.
However, some believe it unlikely to make the cut.
"This would be much more work to implement than the other EIPs," Michael Hahn, of Portfolio ethereum MyCrypto, told to CoinDesk
All of this means that there may be difficulties before October. If a certain proportion of nodes ethereum has chosen to run different software, it could lead to a division in the network (not unlike what happened when the classical ethereum emerged following a disagreement on the technical direction in 2016).
Still, there's a way in which the existing ethereum code could actually help protect the network when it comes to divisions.
For example, due to the presence of the difficulty bomb, an ethereum researcher named Andrew Bradley said that opportunistic fork attempts without developer support would not likely win.  "It reduces the likelihood that stale chains are collected with little effort and supported by precarious exchanges or parties without real development support," Bradley told CoinDesk.
However, the complexity that Constantinope brought to light among miners and the interests of traders has sparked a wave of community involvement in the discussion.
"We had a lot of enthusiasm from the community for the gallows," Hudson Jameson, a joint ications official for the Ethereum Foundation, told CoinDesk: "It's strange to hear about people watching and participating in discussions around bi-weekly developer calls. "
Speaking with CoinDesk, Schoedon of Parity echoed this point, stating that Constantinope is unique in that it has widened the doors of engagement when it comes to difficult decisions.
"In the past, controversy proposals were either immediately accepted or blocked forever," Schoedon said.
However, in this case, the decisions had a broader set of stakeholder engagement, which in turn makes the coordination process more complicated, takes away pressure from the main development team.
"Off-chain governance is difficult, and probably a good thing," added Schoedon.
And while the developers still have the last call, which should be finalized on Friday, many stakeholders expect that they maintain the technical stability of the network above all else.
B Rian Venturo told CoinDesk:
"They understand this stuff better than anyone else and I think they will make the right decisions."
Scientific experiment through Shutterstock