Constantinople's Vulnerability Could Have Been Discovered Before Ethereum's Hard Fork Date

A few days ago, a member of the Ethereum Cat Harders, Charles St. Louis, published a post mortem report related to the Constantinople hard fork.

Constantinople is a proposed hard fork for Ethereum (ETH) that has been postponed on several occasions. However, the last time that it was postponed was on January 16, when a firm detected a security issue in one of the smart contracts related to this upgrade.

The report released by Charles St. Louis, shows the process of the decisions taken by the community during the timeframe. The proposed hard fork included 5 different Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP), including the EIP 1234 which delays the so-called difficulty bomb for another 12 months and reduces the block reward from 3 ETH to 2 ETH.

According to ChainSecurity, an audit platform specialized in smart contracts discovered that the EIP 1283 had a potential vulnerability related to the implementation of the protocol. This implementation would result in smart contracts being vulnerable to a Reentrancy attack.

Charles St. Louis wrote that there were five main factors that played an important role in deciding to postpone the hard fork. Some of these things taken into account include deciding whether this bug could be fixed, the risks of delaying or not the hard fork, an emergency call with Ethereum developers, the sentiment of the community and discussing trading security for efficiency.

The report mentions that developer tools should be incentivized in the ecosystem and developer tool readiness should also be taken into account during a hard fork discussion.

The report reads as follows:

“Include extensive resources for reporting or discussing potential issues – not just official bug bounties. These should include key bug bounties across the ecosystem (not just the official EF bug bounty program), relevant chat rooms, encouraging people to comment on EIPs, pointing people to Github issues, security, bugs, PGP, support email, forums, security Telegram channels, etc.”

Now, the hard fork is scheduled for February 27, 2019. Now, there will be two hard forks taking place at the same time on the same block.

The first hard fork will be related to all the EIP proposals with the exception of the EIP 1283. The second hard fork will allow users to undo the Constantinople changes. These include individual testnets and private networks.

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