Ethereum has had a good start to the year. It gained 10% in the first week of January and has doubled in value since bottoming out at $75 in mid-December. It has usurped Ripple to reclaim the latter’s title as the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency.
Traders are snapping up the currency ahead of next week’s hard fork, which will see the Constantinople update applied to the blockchain. Simultaneously, Constantinople will delay the so-called ‘difficulty bomb’ – the process of gradually increasing the complexity of mining until it becomes unprofitable. This will help to keep the system stable and reduce the chances that a group of miner-led developers may try to hard-fork their own version of the blockchain to address the problem.
A core developer of Ethereum Péter Szilágyi said:
“#Ethereum mainnet Constantinople hardfork (16th of January) is fast approaching. Please make sure you are running Geth 1.8.20+ or Parity 2.1.10+/2.2.5+ to avoid unpleasant surprises!”
Rinkeby #Ethereum testnet hardfork will land around 13:00 UTC on Wednesday, 9th of January! Last call to update your nodes. Also, please ensure you're either running with `–rinkeby`, or that you `geth init`-ed your node with the updated genesis spec from https://t.co/fKzOhrNcFr
— Péter Szilágyi (@peter_szilagyi) January 7, 2019
More About Rinkeby
Developers and enthusiasts exploring the Rinkeby testnet will need to upgrade their client to Geth 1.8.20 or newer. Due to the Constantinople upgrade, other versions will be rendered incompatible. As such, avoiding any potential issues is crucial.
Small reminder that the #Ethereum Rinkeby test network will fork over to Constantinople in less than 1 week. Please make sure you are on Geth 1.8.20 or newer before that time to remain operational.
— Péter Szilágyi (@peter_szilagyi) January 3, 2019
Rinkeby is a Proof-of-Authority network, so uses a different consensus mechanism to the main net. The Ropsten testnet is Proof-of-Work, so more similar to the public main net. However, unlike Ropten, Rinkeby doesn’t run on miners. This doesn't apply to Rinkeby, but if we consider Ropsten: there's no real financial incentive unless there's an illicit black market for testnet ether. Mining helps the developer community, so the incentive is the same as any other altruistic act.
Ropsten went live in October 2018 and faced several issues in it which became the biggest reason for Constantinople hardfork on the mainnet.