Ethereum’s Istanbul hard fork upgrade was originally expected to go live on Wednesday the 2nd of October, at the 6,485,846 block height. However, the upgrade ended up being released two days earlier than expected, on Monday the 30th of September and ended up resulting in a split of the Ropsten testnet. The Ethereum Foundation community manager, Hudson Jameson took to Twitter to announce the irregularity.
“Looks like there is an issue with the Ropsten Ethereum testnet after it hit the Istanbul block. This is what testnets are for! Be aware that Ropsten will be unstable until this all plays out.”
Most proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains require miners to perform a manual upgrade when needed, to make sure the transmission is seamless. However, it would seem that quite a number of miners did not upgrade, causing mining activity to continue taking place on both the old and new chains.
The possibility of an early release of the Istanbul upgrade is not at all strange as the date cannot be 100% exact. According to Jameson, the dates chosen are usually done via an estimate. However, there’s always the possibility that that it could happen a day or two earlier or later and this depends on the speed at which blocks are being produced.
Issues like this usually do not tell on the stability of the network and only happens due to a lack of unison among miners.
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