Core Ethereum devs push Constantinople upgrade out 6 weeks; ProgPoW decision put on hold

Core Ethereum Devs regrouped on Friday for their bi-weekly dev call to discuss how to proceed and set a block time for reintroducing the Constantinople upgrade. Consensus formed around pushing the upgrade out around six weeks, in order to give reasonable amount of time to test clients.

As originally expected, the upgrade will remove EIP 1283 by reissuing Constantinople in two separate parts. The first upgrade will include the original 5 EIPs, and a subsequent simultaneous second upgrade will remove the EIP 1283.

The introduction, and swift elimination, of EIP-1283, has sparked a more general discussion regarding how to proceed with upgrades to EVM semantics that are not compatible with pre-existing smart contracts. This is especially relevant in the context of Ethereum 2.0’s plan to introduce storage rent, where every account would have to pay some small amount of ETH per block for every byte of storage it takes up.

Ethereum’s ‘difficulty bomb’, which increases mining difficulty exponentially (and slows down block times) has already activated, making the precise day of the Constantinople upgrade range bound somewhere during the last few days of February. The core devs decided to aim activation to take place around February 27th, with developer Lane Rettig backing into the desired block number, stating "[using] sensitivity analysis it looks like block 7,280,000 will get us pretty close to that final number [Feb 27th]." The core devs agreed to set block 7.28 million as their "tentative number" and to reevaluate in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, the discussion on next steps for ProgPow implementation ended up being delayed for the time being, with Hudson Jameson chairing the discussion stating, "[we] agree that dev calls are a bad forum when discussing ProgPow decisions. We will need to continue this discussion in the future, don't know if it will fit into the next core dev call, but we'll try."