The Ethereum Berlin hard fork ships tomorrow. The upgrade contains four Ethereum improvement proposals (EIPs) mainly aimed at optimizing gas costs, and is the first of its kind since Muir Glacier shipped on Jan. 2 2020.
“Hard forks” are a result of distributed networks like Ethereum upgrading or making changes in their software. Node operators must upgrade their Ethereum client in order to be compatible with Berlin. Also, some exchanges will suspend deposits and withdrawals while upgrading their software.
Lower Gas Costs
The first, EIP-2565, lowers the gas costs of an arithmetic operation, ModExp, which is used in many cryptographic functions. The lowered cost allows for more of these cryptographic techniques to be run on the network.
The second EIP, EIP-2718, introduces what the specification calls “an envelope for future transaction types.” New transaction types used to necessitate being backward compatible with all other transactions, but the proposal will make it easier to introduce new transaction types.
EIP-2929 raises the gas prices of four functions in order to mitigate Denial of Service attacks like the one which occurred in 2016 and forced Ethereum to hard fork.
EIP-2930 aims to mitigate some of the externalities of raised gas costs which come from EIP-2929 without reducing the increases in security.
The next hard fork, London, includes the much anticipated EIP-1559, which includes a fee burning mechanism which many believe will make net Ether supply deflationary, thus increasing the cryptocurrency’s price which already hit a $2309 all-time high today.