Ethereum Developers Discuss Hard Forks and Block Issuance Reductions

On Aug. 24, Ethereum core developers held a publicly streamed meeting on YouTube, briefly discussing updates for the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency network and focusing on several specific agendas.

Updates Discussed

Presiding over the meeting was Hudson Jameson of the Ethereum Foundation, who discussed the process of no-proof blockchain protocols and its implementation on Ethereum clients with developers. Developer Dmitry Ryan, however, revealed that the team would like to run additional tests on the network in several different conditions to avoid any consensus issues.

The developers highlighted that the third week of August saw several new features released for the Ethereum protocol, excluding an unstable update requiring a “huge miner rewrite.” The mining issue is expected to be fixed by Aug. 27, with developers raring to “have the whole thing completed.”

The much-awaited Constantinople hard fork was also brought in to the discussion. Developers noted that the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP)-1211 would not be included in the upcoming fork, with others chiming in with a myriad of bug fixes and other implementations on the testnet.

The developers unanimously agreed to maintain a rigid schedule for the release of the upcoming fork–opting to forego rushing the release, testing newer EIPs or delaying the ready-to-go code updates in favor of more modern updates.

However, a developer stated many delays could be beneficial for the system instead of minor delays causing several hard forks.

Hard Forking Every Eight Months

Interestingly, all of the developers decided to release a new hard fork every eight months following the launch of Constantinople. The idea of a six-month hard fork was rejected, citing increased work pressure on developers.

While the stark lack of a decision-making body was observed in the meeting, the developers spent substantial time discussing block issuance and block reward–a much-touched upon subject recently.

Meeting attendee Brian Venturo, co-founder and CTO of Atlantic Crypto, asked developers to commit to deciding a hard cap on the total supply of ether. Venturo, in addition to developer Matt White, strongly favored the idea of issuance reduction.

However, such a move could tamper with Ethereum’s 2015 roadmap, which affirmed a supply cap would not be introduced until the currently used proof-of-work consensus is wholly-changed to a proof-of-stake mechanism, eliminating profit-making opportunities for the mining corporations.

Issuance Reduction Debated

White said he believed issuance reduction may better define “good effects for the price”–an integral factor in determining developer salaries and devoting funding for new projects.

Meanwhile, Xin Xu, CEO of Ethereum mining firm Sparkpool, cautioned developers against taking hasty moves, citing the network security stands that would be impacted in the case of significant reduction. Xu’s firm is said to handle over 20 percent of Ethereum’s hash pool.

Toward the end of the meeting, the developers failed to agree on a common consent, with Jameson asking participants to “continue discussions on social media” and gather community perspectives for the EIP proposals before the next meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 31.

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