Ethereum Review of 2019

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Constantinople: The bumpy road to the Ethereum Update (Q1)

As early as January 2019, it was announced that the proof-of-work algorithm in the Ethereum network was to be replaced by an ASIC-resistant version called ProgPow. However, this was not to happen for the time being - an audit failed. His Hard Fork Ethereum Classic suffered a 51 percent attack shortly afterwards. On January 16th the Constantinople Hard Fork was supposed to come - but the update was cancelled again.

The problem: Constantinople was apparently not yet secure enough, and the update would have introduced security holes in Smart Contracts. However, the news about the cancellation had not reached all miners. On January 18, a mini-chain split occurred at Ethereum. Around 10 percent of the miners had implemented Constantinople despite the cancellation.

Despite this, the second largest crypto currency in terms of market capitalization found its way to the stock exchange shortly afterwards. Thus, the NASDAQ indexed the Ether price starting February 25. On March 1st, Ethereum had successfully implemented the Constantinople Hard Fork. The Ether course, however, was, as so often, visibly unimpressed.

Meanwhile, the technology made its way towards the middle of society. The largest investment bank, JPMorgan Chase, for example, continued to develop its Ethereum-based blockchain solution Quorum. The Constantinople Hard Fork finally showed its effects at the end of the quarter. The number of Ethereum blocks rose directly as a result of Constantinople and the St. Petersburg Update, which was executed almost simultaneously. The time required to generate new blocks had dropped from 19 to 14 seconds.

New codes and the Grayscale Trust (Q2)

At the beginning of May, we received the news that the code for the new consensus mechanism in Ethereum should be completed by June. A few days later, the first test runs for Ethereum 2.0 were started and developers and users were able to put Proof of Stake through its paces in a protected test environment.

The adaptation front also continued. In mid-May, for example, it became known that fashion giants such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior were using the Ethereum-based Aura blockchain to ensure the tracking of luxury items. The news about the supposedly approaching Ethereum 2.0. fired short-term price fireworks - the ether price rose by 50 percent for a short time. However, this development should not be permanent - the scene is still waiting for Ethereum 2.0.

At the end of May, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the USA gave its go-ahead for the Grayscale Ethereum Trust for investors. The authority thus enabled off-exchange trading of the Grayscale Ethereum Trust for retail investors.

At the end of June there was a mini revolution in the block chain context. On 27 June, it was announced that it would henceforth be possible to transfer Smart Contracts from Ethereum Blockchain to Corda Blockchain from R3. The Swiss security token provider BlockState made this possible together with the software company R3.

Ethereum and Islam: Everything halal? (Q3)

In the meantime, Ethereum became somewhat quiet - the price drops around the leading currency Bitcoin did not stop at the ether exchange rate. At the end of August there was good news for Muslim Ethereum fans. Because Islamic legal scholars from Amanie Advisors decided at the end of August that Ether and Ethereum are to be classified as halal:

Being Sharia compliant means that ether can be legally traded and exchanged by the Muslim community. It is permissible for a Muslim to buy, sell or hold ether in order to participate in the Ethereum Blockhain and take full advantage of the technology, was said by the Commission.

Meanwhile, technical development has not stood still. Accordingly, Hyperledger got an increase from Ethereum circles at the beginning of September. With the open source client Pantheon, the Hyperledger ecosystem should get a technological basis from now on. A short time later, Hyperledger expanded. ConsenSys decided to join the merger in mid-September. Around the same time, on September 12, Santander Bank announced that it had issued the first end-to-end bond on Ethereum Blockchain. The technology also found its way into university circles. The University of St. Gallen, for example, has recently started using the Ethereum Blockchain to check the authenticity of its diplomas.

Adaptation, upcoming updates and a flipping on the horizon (Q4)

In the fourth quarter of 2019, the Icelandic branch of the furniture giant Ikea also began to discover the Blockchain for itself. Accordingly, the company was to use the Ethereum Blockchain from then on to issue invoices via Smart Contracts. The security promised by the Blockchain was very popular in October. UNICEF also decided to use the technology for its purposes under the second largest crypto currency by market capitalization. The United Nations Children's Fund recently announced the use of the technology to set up a donation fund on it.

Meanwhile, there is also news regarding regulation. The U.S. regulatory body, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), decided that ether tokens are officially considered a commodity in the U.S. rather than a security.

In the meantime, the Smart Contract Security Alliance had given notice of termination. On its agenda: to provide security for Smart Contracts. Immediately after its foundation, the association brought together top-class members such as Fujitsu, LayerX, Blockgeeks and Quantstamps.

Finally, the Ethereum network prepared for the big Istanbul update. At block height 9,069,000, the time had come on 7 December. Among the improvements that the Ethereum network was to undergo were cost adjustments for individual operations with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. (Read in detail here).

ConsenSys Space should then be able to reach the top - the association is currently planning to make the Ethereum Blockchain the basis for collective space research. A first proof of concept is dedicated to the acquisition of satellites by hobby researchers. So with TruSat, the Space Team wants to conquer space. Maybe it will also work with the moon ride.

By the way: According to a November report from the crypto-data analysis company Coinmetrics, ERC-721 tokens are on the advance. This could even lead to a flipping-off in which the supremacy of the ERC-20 tokens is attacked.

A look into the future: Ethereum 2.0. on the way

For next year, the Ethereum development team is planning the first phase of the Serenity Update, which will pave the way for Ethereum 2.0. By January 2020, the ecosystem should be upgraded with major improvements - if there are no further delays. The update, according to the plan, will come with a completely new block chain including token. Among other things, the developers also want to complete the conversion to the proof-of-stake mechanism. Ethereum 2.0. is not intended to replace the previous version - both chains will coexist for at least the next five years.

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