Ethereum, the world’s second largest blockchain by value, is set for a major update next week when the so-called “Byzantium” code, part of a larger, multi-component upgrade known as Metropolis, will be enforced as a hard fork. These changes, which will see nine key Ethereum improvement protocols (EIPs) added, are intended to improve transaction speed, make the platform easier and faster to use, improve smart contracts (the heart of the Ethereum project), and enhance security.
A fork is a change to a cryptocurrency protocol. A soft fork is an update that does not conflict with the original, underlying version, whereas a hard fork represents a change to the underlying software code and programming.
Using a hard fork is a common strategy for upgrading blockchains, although it can be controversial. This is because major changes are supposed to be widely accepted by all major stakeholders in a blockchain; where these are forced through against opposition, it can be argued this goes against the whole ethos behind cryptocurrencies.
This hard fork is also intended to protect the network against attacks, a problem that has plagued Ethereum since last year, when an online hacker managed to drain US $53 million from the accounts of one of the cryptocurrencies biggest institutions, the Decentralised Autonomous Organization (DAO).
With a number of companies and governments looking at exploiting the Ethereum blockchain, including major Wall Street firm and large technology businesses, it is recognised that the platform needs to offer more robust protective mechanisms if it is to realise its potential.
In April, Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, recognised the need for improved network efficiency and security, noting that the most important current challenges were to keep developing the technology, and solve pressing challenges such as “scaling, confidentiality, security issues”. He also explained that these issues need to be solved to “ensure future development of the protocol and the whole ecosystem.”
Although there have been hard forks in Ethereum before, only can be regarded as being successful in terms of creating an alternative blockchain, Ethereum classic.
However, Byzantium should have more success, given the support it has received from the Ethereum Foundation and the wider user community. It also should be placed in the broader context of the Metropolis upgrade, and can be seen as the first steps in the envisaged expanded and enhanced capabilities of the entire platform.
The principal focus over the next week is to make sure that clients are ready for the upgrade, and that their software code contains the EIPs that will enforce the Byzantium fork. The challenge is that although each client on the network must follow the same rules, Ethereum has encouraged what it calls “client diversity”; this means clients are using different programming languages and different programming teams.
For the upgrade to take effect consistently across the platform, all Ethereum clients should update their software so that it enforces block 4,370,000, where the fork will take effect. Failure to do so, or to make the necessary changes in time, could cause the blockchain to split, creating different versions of the same platform.
Top 20 People that contributed most to the development and success of Ethereum
The following are the Top 20 People that contributed most to the development and success of Ethereum:
1. Vitalik Buterin
Vitalik is the creator of Ethereum. He first discovered blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies through Bitcoin in 2011, and was immediately excited by the technology and its potential. He cofounded Bitcoin Magazine in September 2011, and after two and a half years looking at what the existing blockchain technology and applications had to offer, wrote the Ethereum white paper in November 2013. He now leads Ethereum’s research team, working on future versions of the Ethereum protocol.
Personal website: https://about.me/vitalik_buterin
Text source: http://vitalik.ca/files/quickbio.txt | Image source: Coinfox.info
2. Mihai Alisie
Mihai Alisie has been actively involved in the blockchain technology space, since 2011 when he created with Vitalik Buterin the world’s first Bitcoin centric publication – Bitcoin Magazine. He served as Editor-in-Chief for the magazine, until late 2013, when he joined Vitalik in founding the Ethereum project.
In the early days of Ethereum, Mihai led the Swiss efforts to establish the business infrastructure and legal framework critical for the Ethereum “pre-sale” campaign. Following the successful Swiss setup, he oversaw the Ethereum operations as Strategic Manager and Vice-President of the Ethereum Foundation, until late 2015, when he focused his attention on creating the AKASHA social media platform.
Text source: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mihaialisie/ | Image source: Twitter
3. Joseph Lubin
Joseph Lubin was the cofounder of Ethereum Switzerland GmbH (which is now defunct and replaced by the Ethereum Foundation). Lubin also had a hand in creating the Ethereum Foundation.
He left Ethereum in 2015 to found ConsenSys, a company that aims to develop software services and applications that operate on the Ethereum blockchain. The company has since grown to more than 150 employees.
Text source: https://steemit.com/ethereum/@kjnk/ethereum-fundamentals-important-people-in-ethereum | Image source: twitter
4. Stephen Tual
Stephan Tual was the former Chief Commerical Officer at the Ethereum Foundation. He is now the founder and CCO of Slock.it.
Source: https://steemit.com/ethereum/@kjnk/ethereum-fundamentals-important-people-in-ethereum | Img: bitbays.com
5. Ming Chan
Ming Chan is the Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation, appointed in 2015. She is a Swiss-born Chinese American and an alumni of MIT.
Text Source: https://steemit.com/ethereum/@kjnk/ethereum-fundamentals-important-people-in-ethereum | Img source: fintechnews.ch
6. Andreas Antonopoulos
Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist, entrepreneur and an engaging public speaker, who makes Bitcoin easier to understand for the average Joe. He has been a prolific proponent of cryptocurrencies in general, speaking in front of large crowds at numerous technology and security conference around the globe. Antonopoulos is also the author of “Mastering Bitcoin,” a technical guide to understanding Bitcoin, and has been a popular guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. He also advises numerous startups, and even appeared before the Canadian Senate to help them evaluate the best regulatory approach. He is largely known to use the phrase “The Internet of Money” as early as 2013, to describe Bitcoin. Antonopoulos has launched several community open-source projects and is a widely published author of Bitcoin-related articles as well as a permanent host on the Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast.
Text source: Source: https://news.bitcoin.com/top-10-influential-people-bitcoin/ | Image source: Wikipedia
7. Vlad Zamfir
Zamfir is a developer at the Ethereum Foundation. He works closely with Vitalik on Ethereum research for the longterm. He’s currently focused on Proof of Stake research. Zamfir is a very active writer on Ethereum. He has strong opinions and tends not to sugarcoat his opinions. Take, for example, this tweet in March where he states that “Ethereum isn’t safe or scalable. It is immature experimental tech”. Zamfir clears up this bearish statement in a Medium post where he says that he’s ultimately bullish on the coin, but it’s still young and there’s a lot of things to do to improve Ethereum’s scalability and immunity to attacks. Blockchains are not toys. They aren’t get rich quick schemes. Zamfir is a core member of the Ethereum development team and very vocal with his ideas.
Text Source: https://steemit.com/ethereum/@kjnk/ethereum-fundamentals-important-people-in-ethereum | Image source: thebitcoinnews.com
8. Jeffrey Wilke
Wilke is one of the founders of Ethereum. While Vitelik is the mind behind Ethereum, Wilke is the creator of Ethereum. He started the first implementation of Ethereum using the Go programming language in 2013 and continues to lead Ethereum development today.
Text source: Source: https://steemit.com/ethereum/@kjnk/ethereum-fundamentals-important-people-in-ethereum | Image source: money.cnn.com
9. Charles Hoskinson
Charles Hoskinson is a well-known name in the world of cryptocurrency, as he was involved in Ethereum from the early days. However, he effectively left the leadership team before the Ethereum Genesis block was even mined. Ever since that time, Hoskinson has been focusing his attention on Ethereum Classic, which a lot of people deem to be the original Ethereum chain before the DAO roll back hard fork occurred. The technology entrepreneur is also involved in other startups, and was the founding chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation educational committee.
Text source: https://themerkle.com/6-important-ethereum-co-founders-to-keep-an-eye-on/ | Image source: businessinsider.sg
10. Anthony Di Iorio
Di Iorio is actively involved in the Jaxx wallet, which allows users to store multiple cryptocurrencies in one app. Plus, he is also the CEO and founder of Decentral, a company providing guidance through the blockchain ecosystem. He is one of the ethereum co-founders.
Source: https://themerkle.com/6-important-ethereum-co-founders-to-keep-an-eye-on/ | Image source: news.bitcoin.com
11. Gavin Wood
Gavin is an Ethereum founder, the inventor of the Solidity smart contract language, and he wrote the Yellow Paper. Wood is also involved in different projects, he is an advisor, and is a frequent panelist and speaker at cryptocurrency and blockchain conferences.
Personal website: http://gavwood.com/
Source: https://themerkle.com/6-important-ethereum-co-founders-to-keep-an-eye-on/ | Image source gavwood.com
12. Brock Pierce
Pierce is known for his work with Bitcoin and other digital currencies as an advisor, founder, and investor. Pierce has invested in over 30 companies in the blockchain ecosystem, helped raise over $200M for companies he is involved with, is a mentor for startup accelerators and runs a top AngelList syndicate. Piece was elected Director of the Bitcoin Foundation in 2014. His election led several members of the organization to resign, citing allegations that Pierce had been involved in child abuse. Pierce had not been criminally charge and has repeatedly denied the allegations which stem from a 1999 lawsuit. Pierce is a founder, board member and advisor for several Bitcoin companies including GoCoin, Tether, ZenBox, Blade Financial, Expresscoin, Noble Markets, BitGo, Airswap and ChangeTip.
Source: Wikipedia | Img source: LinkedIn
13. Perianne Boring
Perianne Boring is the founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the world’s largest trade association representing the blockchain industry. Under her leadership, the Chamber leads several key industry initiatives including the Blockchain Alliance, the Global Blockchain Forum, the Smart Contracts Alliance, the Blockchain Intellectual Property Council, the Digital Assets Accounting Consortium, and the Chamber’s State Working Group, among others.
Perianne was named in CoinDesk’s 10 Most Influential People in Blockchain 2016; and 2015’s Top Woman in Bitcoin for her public policy accomplishments. Perianne is a communications expert and avid public speaker; she has presented at leading industry events including the Consumer Electronic Show (“CES”), Money 20/20, South by Southwest, and many others. She is also a contributor at Forbes, and author of the column, “The Beauty of the Blockchain.” Prior to forming the Chamber, Perianne was a television host and anchor of an international finance program that aired in over 100 countries to over 650 million viewers. Ms. Boring began her career as a legislative analyst in the US House of Representatives, advising on finance, economics, tax and healthcare policy.
Perianne graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration and economics. Raised in Florida, she currently resides in Washington, DC.
Text source: Wikipedia | Image source: bitcoinist.com
14. Blythe Masters
Blythe is a former executive at JPMorgan Chase. She is currently the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, a financial technology firm developing distributed ledger technology for wholesale financial services. Masters is widely credited as the creater of the credit default swap as a financial instrument. She Is also the chairman of the Governing Board of the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Project, member of the International Advisor Board of Santander Group, and Advisor Board Member of the US Chamber of Digital Commerce
Text source: Wikipedia | Image source: globalfundforwomen.com