One of the first stages of the Ethereum Metropolis upgrade (Byzantium) is now being tested on Ropsten, the Ethereum testing environment. We previously covered the Byzantium upgrade in an update on the Metropolis hard fork a few days ago.
The simulation of the hard fork was initiated earlier this morning and will commence for a few weeks. The hope is to identify any issues and do some trouble shooting before the hard fork is implemented on the main net (Ethereum Network). This could pave the way for one of the most important upgrades to the network.
Ropsten is meant to simulate the Ethereum network and the Ethereum Virtual Machine. In this testing environment, developers can examine the code and verify that any changes are working correctly. This is also where smart contract authors can upload their new contracts and test them without being charges Gas from the Ethereum network.
During this period on the Ropsten TestNet, they will be testing nine of the EIPs (Ethereum Improvement Protocols) that will be rolled out in the Byzantium hard fork. The Ethereum dev team released an overview of the proposed Byzantium code changes in a Reddit post.
The testing will likely take about three weeks to complete which means that the Byzantium hard fork on the main network will probably take place in the second week of October. Of course, this is a rough timeline and depends on how the testing phase goes.
Despite this moving timeline, Péter Szilágyi mentioned at the development team meeting in September that if there was a problem in testing, it was likely to happen quickly. Hence, Ethereum developers are likely to announce a more formal date for the hard fork.
Byzantium is the first step in a much needed network improvement. It will provide for more efficient, secure and robust infrastructure for the numerous Dapps (decentralised applications) that run on it. This is also in anticipation of many of the large scale projects that could be launched on the Ethereum network. Of course, the Metropolis hard fork is laying the groundwork for the transition from proof of work mining to proof of stake protocol called "Casper".
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Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.