Ethereum’s Metropolis Hard Fork

Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency network, just like other major cryptocurrencies, is getting used to “forks” to ensure survival. In this piece let us take a look at the changes in the Ethereum Network in the past few days- Raiden Network and the road ahead, the proposed Metropolis hard-fork.

The Raiden Network developed by Brainbot Technologies since 2015 is one of the most anticipated scaling solution for the Ethereum network. Raiden was deployed in testnet on 6th of September 2017, aimed to improve scalability at the cost of decentralisation.

Raiden revolves on the idea that Global consensus is not required for transactions between common participants. This makes use of off-chain peer-to-peer based networks, which allows users to exchange messages only the final transactions to be aided by the blockchain thereby reducing transaction fees to up-to one seventh of the existing fee on the blockchain network.

With the key benefits being not only being scalability, allowing upto a million transactions per second but also confidential and interoperability between other Ethereum based token APIs, the Raiden network works very similar to the lighting network deployed in other major cryptocurrencies. This doesn’t come across as much of a surprise with the term “Rai” standing for lighting in Japanese.

The other major upgrade for the Ethereum network, the Metropolis hard fork, has been supposedly in the works long enough with several proposed changes aimed at more mainstream adoption for the Ethereum. Proposed changes include, a much needed simplification of the Ethereum protocol allowing the average user to get onboard the Ethereum platform, making the recipient to pay gas for the transactions as opposed to the sender only gas payment scenario right now.

Second improvement would be the implementation of the zk-SNARKS or Zero-knowledge proofs, which although will not make the Ethereum network anonymous overnight but is thought to pave the way for anonymous transactions in future.

Also some significant changes to the coding structure are to be implemented, thereby making programming of Ethereum’s Smart contract technology easier and an automated adjustment of gas rates for transactions solely based on the current network congestion thereby acting as a permanent solution to exchanges overcharging unsuspecting users.

It is also proposed that the Metropolis will be implemented in a stage of two hard forks, the Byzantium and the Constantinople hard fork. Amongst this, the Byzantium hard-fork is expected to be deployed on the Ropsten test network within the end of this month-September 2017. This will grant the developers additional time to understand and fix additional bugs effectively.

It is further to be noted that post Metropolis hard-fork, a meaningful blockchain split is least likely expected. Metropolis was always on the Ethereum Dev agenda since the beginning and considering non approvers of Metropolis will simply adopt Ethereum Classic (ETC) – rather than hoping for a split again. There is clearly no idea as to expect when, the Constantinople hard-fork is expected to occur, but Metropolis definitely has a lot of exciting changes to look forward to.