In just three days, Ethereum is to undertake the first of its kind hardfork in the digital currency space. With Geth, Parity and Mist all having a hardfork release, all eyes are now on the miners.
Ethpool/Ethermine was the first to open the decision to miners with more than 81% voting in support of the hardfork on both pools. Dwarfpool, currently the biggest ethereum miner, followed, with more than 72% supporting the fork.
Peter from Ethpool/Etherminer, speaking to CCN, stated:
“[T]esting will start tomorrow and all mining nodes will be upgraded by Tuesday according to the result of the voting. We will also closely monitor the actual fork on Wednesday to be able to react quickly in case of any issues.”
Together the pools account for more than 42% of the networks hashrate. They are joined by MiningPoolHub which has decided to support the hardfork based on the voting results of Ethereum holders who overwhelmingly showed support with 87% voting in favor. That brings the total known hashrate in support of the hardfork to around 44-45%.
Coinotron, which controls around 5%, has just opened their pool to miner-voting according to a spokesman from Coinotron who told CCN that they will follow the voting results and switch to the chain chosen by voters. The results currently show 82% in favor, reflecting other pools and Ethereum holders. If this continues, the pro-hardfork hash-share becomes around 50% of the network. At that point, support for the fork by any other pool would be decisive.
In particular, the decision of Nanopool, which controls around 4%, can be conclusive if it is in favor of the fork. They opened the pool to voting for the softfork with the results largely reflecting other voting pools, therefore the same is likely for the hardfork, but we have not received any response from Nanopool at the time of publishing.
If Nanopool supports the fork, then all other miners will have to follow as 54% of the network would be in favor. The other 46% of the miners are likely to reflect an 80/20 split, but if it is certain that 54% of the hashrate has upgraded to the hardfork client, all other miners will upgrade as they would find themselves on an insecure chain if they fail to follow the majority of the hashrate.
In particular, F2Pool has stated that they do not support the fork, but will upgrade if they have to, which would be the case if it is certain that 54% of the network supports the fork:
“[W]e do not endorse any emergency hard forks that might cause potential security risks. However, if the vast majority of hash power supports the hard fork, we will have to support it.”
We reached out to BW, which currently has almost 15% of the network share, but they stated that they were unwilling to provide any comment at this point in regards to the hardfork, citing a shortness of time to reply to our question on whether they support the fork. We were however informed that BW is an actual pool and we believe the same applies to F2pool. They do not, therefore, control any hashrate as far as it is known. As such, miners in favor of the hardfork may move to pools which are known to support the hardfork in certain terms.
The hardfork will go live at block 1,920,000, around this Wednesday, just three days from now. Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, publicly stated that everyone is advised to not transact “between block 1920000 and the time that the hard fork is "settled" and it is clear which branch is dominant,” a measure taken by all exchanges which will disable deposits or withdrawals during that time.
That is because, as has happened numerous times with bitcoin softforks, a chainsplit can occur for a brief period of 1-2 hours while the hashrate coordinates, but those are usually accidental and therefore resolved very quickly. Another measure that can be taken if one wishes to transact during this period is to wait for an excessively large number of confirmations, which, in Ethereum’s case, would be in the thousands as Ethereum’s confirmation times are in seconds.
With all hardfork clients now released, everyone is urged to upgrade if they run a node. Otherwise, ordinary users are unlikely to see any difference nor are required to do anything, except to wait for about an hour during the transition process. Afterwards, everything goes back to normal and the nascent community can return to focusing on building things and put behind what history may judge as a blessing or as an error.
Images from Shutterstock and Ethpool.