Everything you need to know about the Ethereum Berlin upgrade


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The Ethereum Berlin upgrade is expected to happen at around 4:00 pm on April 15th, Beijing time. As a user, what preparations do you need to make?

The long-delayed Ethereum Berlin Upgrade will be launched soon. This is the latest upgrade after the Ethereum Istanbul and Muir Glacier upgrades. Due to the over-centralization of the Geth client, the Berlin hard fork, which was expected to go online in July 2020, has been postponed all the way to this day.

The Berlin upgrade is planned to go online at the block height of the Ethereum main network at 12244000. The specific time may be advanced or postponed due to fluctuations in the block time. It is currently expected to happen at around 4:00 pm on April 15th, Beijing time.

Why Berlin?

Berlin is just a name for the upgrade of the Ethereum network. After the upgrade of Istanbul, the Ethereum network upgrade will adopt the city (Berlin, London, Shanghai, etc.) and order naming where the Devcon will be held.

What does the Berlin upgrade mean?

The Berlin upgrade means a change in the underlying protocol of Ethereum.

The decentralized nature of Ethereum makes network upgrades a difficult problem. The community and Ethereum client developers need to reach a consensus on certain protocol changes. The agreed protocol changes will be written to each Ethereum client, such as Geth, Open Ethereum , Besu, and Nethermind, start network upgrades at a specific block height.

The Berlin upgrade mainly optimizes the performance of Ethereum’s main network, optimizes contracts, and covers Gas efficiency, the update of the way the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) reads the code, and the prevention of denial of service (DDOS) attacks. Before being deployed to the mainnet, the upgrade will be run on the Ropsten, Goerli and Rinkeby testnets.

What updates are included in the Berlin upgrade?

This upgrade includes at least five EIPs, namely EIP-2565, EIP-2315, EIP-2929, EIP-2718 and EIP-2930. However, at the 107th core developer meeting on March 5th, everyone approved the removal of EIP-2315 from the upgrade list.

EIP-2565: Reduce the cost of ModExp pre-compiled contracts

The proposal is a repricing of the previous EIP-198. EIP-198 introduces a pre-compiled module for modular exponentiation, and EIP-2565 reduces the gas cost of the module to make it comparable to the cost of performing other operations. Flat.

Reference reading:

EIP-2929: Increase GAS consumption of state access opcodes

The EIP increases the gas consumption (within a transaction) when SLOAD, CALL, BALANCE, EXT, and SELFDESTRUCT are called for the first time by about 3 times, but this high cost is only triggered once for any address or storage slot.

Increasing the gas consumption of these operations is to mitigate the DoS attack interface that still exists in the Ethereum protocol. In addition, EIP-2929 also helps to limit the size of witness data in the environment after the implementation of stateless Ethereum.

Reference reading:

EIP-2930: Optional access list

In order to alleviate the problem of increased gas consumption caused by EIP-2929, the Berlin upgrade package introduced EIP-2930. EIP-2930 allows users to specify an “access list” when submitting a transaction to allow things to indicate the status of their planned access, in order to use the GAS fee lower than EIP-2929.

Reference reading:

EIP-2718: Standardized transaction types

The EIP introduced a new type of transaction, and introduced support for multiple transaction types at the protocol level to more conveniently enable support for multiple transaction types.

In the early days of the Ethereum mainnet, there was only one transaction type with fields TO and Data. In November 2016, the Ethereum network’s needs for transaction types changed, and the pseudo-dragon hard fork included EIP-155 in order to prevent replay attacks. Although EIP-2718 cannot solve the complexity brought about by EIP-155, it effectively prevents the introduction of more complexity and also makes the implementation of EIP-1599 easier.

Reference reading:
“The Berlin Upgrade Overiew”

As a user, what preparations need to be made?

As an Ethereum user or ETH holder, you don’t need to do anything unless your exchange or wallet service provider informs you that additional steps are required.

As a node operator or miner, you need to download the latest version of the Ethereum client. Considering the variability of block time, it is recommended to upgrade a few days before the expected date. After the Berlin upgrade, unupgraded nodes will remain on the old chain that is not compatible with the new chain, will not be able to send ETH to the upgraded Ethereum network, and will not be able to operate the smart contracts in the upgraded Ethereum network.

download link:
* Go-ethereum (Geth) v1.10.1
* OpenEthereum (fka Parity) v3.2.0
* Nethermind v1.10.31
* Besu v21.1.2
* EthereumJS VM v5.2.0

Reference reading:
“Ethereum Berlin Upgrade Announcement”

Ethereum upgrade roadmap: EIP-1559 and ETH2 merge

In addition to the upcoming Berlin upgrade, Ethereum 2021 will also usher in the London upgrade (expected in July) and the Shanghai upgrade (expected in October).

The London upgrade will deploy the community’s more controversial EIP-1559 on the main network. Due to the difficulty of the London upgrade, and the implementation and testing time is shorter than the previous upgrade, so the core developers are trying to narrow the scope of the London upgrade to complete it on time.

EIPs that have not been upgraded in London may be upgraded in Shanghai (may include EIP-3298 or EIP-3322). Ethereum developers are currently discussing the priority of upgrading in Shanghai. One option is that the Shanghai upgrade will be launched as another functional fork, including EIPs that are not included in the London upgrade. Another option is to adopt Vitliak Buterin’s rapid merger proposal, and use the Shanghai upgrade as a merger of Eth1 <> Eth2. If the first one is to start the Shanghai upgrade as a functional fork, it may start in October 2021. If it is the latter, it will be postponed to a longer time to start.

Reference reading:
“For those who are unclear on big things happening soon in the Ethereum ecosystem”
“Proposal to prioritize The Merge after London”
“AllCoreDevs Update 001”

Everything you need to know about the Ethereum Berlin upgrade

Reference materials:
“What are the changes in the Ethereum Berlin upgrade? Understand the 4 EIP proposals
“A quick overview of the main points of the Ethereum Berlin upgrade: first deployed to the Ropsten testnet, the mainnet is scheduled to be upgraded on April 14th”

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