62% of the Ethereum Clients are not Compatible With the Istanbul Fork

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The Ethereum ecosystem is set to undergo a major upgrade in five days from today. Known as “Istanbul”, this new update will introduce some crucial changes to the network as a whole.

For reasons unknown, over half of the Ethereum network clients are not ready and synchronized to accommodate this upgrade.

The Istanbul Update in a Nutshell

Ethereum developers announced the date for the Istanbul network upgrade two weeks ago. This new update will apply several Ethereum Improvement Protocols, including ChainID opcode and Calldata gas cost reduction. 

This latter function applies to zk_SNARKS and zk_STARKs, as the cost of calling data within transactions will be reduced.  Ultimately, this will also allow layer-two scaling solutions to achieve an even higher transaction throughput moving forward.

Upgrading Nodes in Crucial

As some core changes are coming to Ethereum, it is pertinent for all node users to upgrade their client software accordingly. This is usually done by downloading an updated version of their client, which are often provided by their individual developers well ahead of time. 

Upgrading the client is also crucial for miners, as they could run into problems otherwise. Those who do not upgrade their software in time will be “left behind” on an incompatible blockchain that doesn’t follow the current rule set. This also means users won’t be able to send or receive Ether until they complete the client upgrade accordingly.

The Istanbul Node Problem

Statistics provided by Ethernodes indicate a lot of network users still need to perform their client upgrade. Just 38% of all Geth clients on the Ethereum network are currently compatible with the Istanbul upgrade. Given how this fork will go into effect in just five days, there is a lot of work to be done in this department.

A similar problem ensues where the Parity clients are concerned. Just four in ten clients are compatible with Istanbul this close to the deadline. It is unclear why these figures remain so low, as it can pose significant problems if not addressed properly.

Overall, 62% of the Ethereum network clients will seemingly not follow the Istanbul upgrade. Those figures will undoubtedly change as time progresses, yet they depict a slightly worrisome situation regardless. 

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