CRC Blockchain Industry Commentary #8

Source: Messari.io

1) Ethereum core developers set a target date for Istanbul hard fork

Phase one of the Istanbul upgrade is set to activate on the Ethereum ($ETH) mainnet the week of Dec. 4 (block number 9,056,000), seven weeks after its initially scheduled launch. The first Istanbul hard fork is expected to introduce six new code changes, five of which reduce gas costs for specific opcodes or add new operations, while EIP-1884 aims to increase computational costs for data recalls. A back-up date is set for the week of Jan. 8 in case any complex deployment issues or last-minute bugs arise between now and the first week of December. The second phase of Istanbul is anticipated to launch on mainnet sometime in Q1 2020.

CRC Commentary: Istanbul marks the next step in Ethereum’s transition to a scalable, PoS network. One of the proposals at the Istanbul upgrade, EIP-1884 is slightly controversial: The proposal increases the costs of retrieving on-chain data for applications, an unwelcoming addition for developers. However, an increase in fees enhances miner income, thus incentivizing greater miner participation. Until the transition to PoS is complete, Ethereum needs to keep miners engaged in maintaining its current level of network security.

2) Blockchain and Bitcoin search volumes on Wechat and Baidu surges after Xi Jinping’s remarks

Search volumes for blockchain-related keywords saw staggering breakouts on Chinese search engine Baidu and messaging app WeChat on Friday. The word “blockchain” was search 72,049 times on Baidu on Friday, a 1382.79% surge compared to the day before. Meanwhile, search volumes for "bitcoin" did not gain as strong an upswing as "blockchain," and even saw a slight 5% dip on Friday on both WeChat and Baidu. However, the word picked up traction the day after and rose by 144% on WeChat and by 216% on Baidu. 

CRC Commentary: Although various Chinese government officials have made comments on blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the past, Xi's remark is likely the highest-profile public approval of blockchain by Chinese Government. Looking at the numbers, assuming they are coming from unique individuals, 9 million searches is close to ¼ th of the total cryptocurrency owners in the world. “Blockchain, not Bitcoin” attitude was very common in the industry during 2016-17, and it faded away as the public chains gained traction. How will that play out here in China is an interesting thing to watch.

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