Ethereum Berlin Upgrade Expected Today

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  • Ethereum’s latest upgrade, Berlin, is set to go live today
  • The Ethereum Berlin upgrade features four main changes around transactions
  • Ethereum’s next upgrade, London, features the controversial EIP-1559

Ethereum’s latest upgrade, codenamed Berlin, is set to go live today with a number of protocol changes in anticipation of the much bigger London upgrade slated to go live in three months’ time. The Ethereum Berlin upgrade, which has been running on all three testnets for three weeks now, will go live at block 12,244,000 and contains a number of technical changes that pave the way for the controversial EIP-1559 which is set to be implemented in July.

Ethereum Berlin Upgrade Brings Transaction Changes

The block for Ethereum’s Berlin upgrade was announced in early March, although of course the content of the upgrade package has been known for a while. They are mostly small changes, but some have been taken with a view to the bigger upgrade in July:

EIP-2565 – ModExp Gas Prices: This change makes Ethereum’s ‘modular exponentiation’ definition more usable by lowering the gas prices needed to use it.

EIP-2718 – Typed Transaction Envelope: This proposal aims to define a new transaction type that will act as an envelope for future Ethereum transaction types, introducing a kind of wrapper for them.

EIP-2929 – Gas Cost Increases for State Access Opcodes: This EIP will increase gas costs for operations (opcodes) that access memory and have traditionally been involved in DoS attacks due to their relatively low cost. EIP-2929 will increase the cost of these opcodes around threefold, hopefully closing this vulnerability.

EIP-2930 – Optional Access Lists: This change will enable a new type of transaction that will make accessing inside the access list cheaper. Building on EIP-2718, it introduces an asset list format to Ethereum and also reduces risks of contract breakage otherwise introduced with EIP-2929.

All Eyes on London

While these four protocol changes in the Ethereum Berlin upgrade are obviously necessary, they don’t quite grab the headlines like EIP-1559 has. This EIP, which is set to be introduced in the London upgrade in July, will transform the concept of a blockchain transaction and remove the miner fee from the equation, hence why it has been so controversial. Once this upgrade is completed then, all eyes will be on July, where we could see some fireworks in London.