Upcoming Ethereum Forks: What You Need To Know

Recently Ethereum visited double digits as it traded below $100 for roughly 15 days. Despite visiting levels that Ethereum had not previously seen since May of 17’, Ethereum has bounced roughly +90% into the beginning of January. While the market is showing some strength into 2019, there are a lot of technical developments, and forks happening throughout the ecosystem. Ethereum, in particular, has two forks in the month of January, some sources are reporting three forks, but the details behind one of them does not look overly legitimate, which I will share, so for that fact I am stating that Ethereum has two major forks in the month of January, but one “main” or important one.


A fork being discussed for Ethereum in the month of January would be the Ethereum Nowa Fork which is scheduled to happen on the 12th of January, 2019. When this fork occurs, users will get 1 ETN (Ethereum Nowa) coin for every eth (1:1) in their private wallets. The Ethereum Nowa roadmap discusses potential wallets, for desktop and even mobile, however, the photos of their team on the website linked back to stock images, revealed on a bitcoin talk forum, linked here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5079183.0 . Very clearly the Ethereum Nowa fork may be a scam, for this reason, I am not giving it much research or attention.


The next, somewhat more minor fork would be the Ethereum Classic Vision fork. The Ethereum Classic Vision fork occurs on January 11th, 2019. This fork leverages the best of ETC creating true decentralization through the ETH PoS mining. The ETCV fork is a 1:3 fork, so for every 1 ETH users hold they will get 3 ETCV in their wallets if they can properly claim the tokens or the exchange the ETH that is being held on supports the fork. The ETCV miners can allegedly use simple hardware such as a Raspberry Pi. ETCV holders can also stake, and develop dApps on the platform. ETCV also claims to be able to process up to 10,000+ transactions per section, which is impressive among altcoins.


While the two forks mentioned above are situations where you can receive currency swaps in some supported wallets, the next fork that is going to be discussed, the “Constantinople” fork deals with changes to the Ethereum underlying technical protocols. The Ethereum Constantinople fork is scheduled to take place on January 16th, but this is just a projection as it built on 7,080,000 blocks which is likely to occur sometime between the dates of January 14th- 18th. The key change to point out with this Constantinople fork would be the fact that the Ethereum protocol is transitioning from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This transition from PoW to PoS is called the “Casper update” on the Ethereum network and has been long discussed.


Along with Ethereum transitioning from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake, the Constantinople fork also implements a mining reward difficulty decrease, causing some concern among miners. While the switch of PoW to PoS is the key fact of this update, the fork also introduces blockchain efficiency upgrades, optimization for larger scale code, off-chain transaction channels similar to Bitcoin’s lightning network, as well as improvements to ensure a network attack is highly improbable. Another upgrade taking place in this fork worth mentioning would be improvements to the gas calculation enabling cheaper transactions on the Ethereum network.


While there are a lot of developments surrounding Ethereum including forks, hard forks, and network upgrades, the price has been rather volatile recently. While The US dollar pair of Ethereum and Bitcoin moved somewhat similar in terms of general price direction throughout the ladder half of 2018, with both of them greatly declining, Ethereum has seen more significant gains than Bitcoin since Ethereum’s recent visit to double digits. Since their respective bottoms for the year (as of writing this on 1/7) Bitcoin has increased roughly +25% from around $3200-$4100. Ethereum has bounced +85% from just under $83 to over $150. While these rallies have been happening since the initial bounces momentum in the short term appears to be slowing down.


Despite recent price action and Ethereum’s performance over Bitcoin throughout the recent action in early 2019, there is likely some volatility that will take place surrounding the time of the fork for Ethereum. Mainly the major “Constantinople” fork is what I would watch for here for some potential volatility, and unless you have a crystal ball there is no way to truly know which way Ethereum will travel. This fork will take place around January 16thand the expression “sell the news” is one I always value in these event driven situations. The expression means there will be buzz and price increases surrounding an event, but by the time the event has arrived, price action has topped, so you should sell somewhere around the date of the event. There is no indication this will be the case with this Ethereum fork, but it is an expression that generally holds true in crypto so it is important to keep in mind.


The first two forks mentioned, the ETN and ETCV forks likely will have a negligible impact on Ethereum price action or the network. It is likely that ETN may potentially be a scam, so I am not paying it much attention. Despite all of the drama surrounding Ethereum, the Constantinople fork should be a positive network development. From slightly cheaper transactions to many blockchain efficiencies improved, it is likely that in the long term the Constantinople fork will have a positive impact on the network functionality. There will likely be some volatility surrounding the date of the major fork, and extra discussion of Ethereum leading up to the events.