Constantinople Hard Fork Could Spell Doomsday for Ethereum

December 10, 2018 / by Zachary Mashiach

The crypto space is still getting over the Bitcoin Cash fork, which led to the formation of Bitcoin SV along with an 80 percent price crash for Bitcoin Cash, a vicious lawsuit against the biggest backers of Bitcoin Cash. It also initiated an overall crypto space crash that has brought the market to the lowest levels of 2018. Now Ethereum’s developers have made their final plans for a hard fork that is codenamed Constantinople. This fork will come at block 7,080,000, which will occur anywhere from Jan. 14 to 18. Constantinople has the potential to split the Ethereum community since it disenfranchises the miners who secure the Ethereum network.

Ethereum miners are already having a rough time due to the collapse of Ethereum’s price from $1,400 in January to less than $100 today. Many Ethereum miners have given up, and this can be seen on apps like OfferUp and LetGo, where people are dumping their Ethereum rigs for whatever money they can get. The reality is most Ethereum mining rigs earn less Ether than the electricity they burn. Indeed, Ethereum’s hash rate has crashed from 300,000 GH/s to 175,000 GH/s.

The Constantinople hard fork will lower block rewards from 3 Ether to 2 Ether, and this significant one-third reduction in mining revenue adds insult to injury for Ethereum miners. Slashing the block reward is already bad enough, but the Ethereum developers are rushing forward with their plans to implement ProgPoW, which will block ASIC rigs from mining Ether. Clearly, there is a major disconnect between the Ethereum developers and Ethereum miners, and this is setting up a perfect storm that could lead to a blockchain split and the birth of a new version of Ethereum.

A final decision has not been made on whether ProgPoW will be included in the Constantinople hard fork, but apparently an overarching goal of this fork is to soften the transition from PoW, where miners secure the network, to proof of stake (PoS), where there are no Ethereum mining rigs at all. Obviously, Ethereum miners who have collectively invested billions into Ethereum mining hardware do not want to transition to PoS. If Ethereum miners are to make a stand regarding this issue, it will probably happen when the Constantinople hard fork occurs in January 2019. This is especially true if ProgPoW is implemented, which would make Ethereum ASICs obsolete for Ethereum mining.

Miners that use Ethereum ASICs literally have nothing to lose by refusing to upgrade to the new version of Ethereum and everything to gain if they can keep the current version of Ethereum alive. In fact, their survival is at risk at this point, and the only way for Ethereum ASIC miners to survive is to split off from Ethereum and make a new version of Ethereum that focuses on keeping mining rewards at sustainable levels.

Ethereum has been plagued by increasing Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement since most initial coin offerings (ICOs) have launched using the Ethereum platform. This has already wreaked havoc across the Ethereum and ERC-20 token markets. Throwing a fork and blockchain split into the mix could have results that are as devastating as the recent Bitcoin Cash fork.

The name of the Ethereum fork, Constantinople, is ominous since that is the name of the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire after the Roman empire split. Ultimately that split led to a total collapse of the Roman Empire.

It seems that Constantinople is now threatening to split the Ethereum empire, which could ultimately lead to its downfall since most of the miners who are securing Ethereum could leave during January 2019.

As Satoshi Nakamoto knows, miners are the lifeblood of a proof of work cryptocurrency, but the Ethereum developers do not seem to recognize that fact.