The long-awaited Ethereum Istanbul hard fork will take place at 12 AM GMT on December 8. Once again, most ETH nodes are waiting until the last moment to upgrade.

Ethereum Nodes Wait to Upgrade Until Last Moment

Based on Ethernodes, the percentage of nodes that had not upgraded with the Istanbul version was pegged at 51.2% of the total just hours before the event. The readiness remained low for days, with about 10% of nodes upgrading in the past day. The fork had less than three hours to go to the designated block.

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The Istanbul hard fork may be delayed slightly, if there is a lack of readiness, just like the past when Ethereum pushed back few upgrades. On other occasions, the nodes managed to run the new version just before the fork.

The eighth upgrade of the Ethereum protocol shows the network has walked a long path, but is not much closer to staking. Once again, proof-of-stake is envisioned to arrive within 18 months – one of the long-running promises of Ethereum.

The arrival of Istanbul was slower than expected due to the sluggish production of blocks. The mining “ice age” mechanism is gradually increasing difficulty and slowing block discovery.

Additionally, miners have gradually abandoned the network, lowering the hash rate over the past months.

Exchanges Freeze ETH, Token Transfers

The Istanbul hard fork, which will introduce anti-spamming protocols and again disable the difficulty time bomb, will also affect the entire token ecosystem. Exchanges are warning that disruptions may be expected at the time of the fork.

The best approach is to avoid transactions in ETH and ERC-20 tokens, until the network has stabilized. The Ethereum network now holds higher stakes, as it supports ERC-20 versions of more than 2 billion USDT tokens. Additionally, decentralized finance depends on the smooth functioning of smart contracts and the achievement of consensus.

Pools, exchanges, and other services have warned they will support the fork, while waiting out for network stability.

The biggest risk is that Ethereum nodes will still run incompatible versions, and the chain may split. At this point, some transactions may be lost when the final consensus is achieved.

The countdown to the hard fork has remained neutral for the ETH market price. The asset traded at $148.92 on Saturday, with sinking volumes down to $5.8 billion in 24 hours. The hard fork may slow down trading across multiple markets, by freezing temporarily ERC-20 USDT transfers.

What do you think about the Ethereum Istanbul hard fork? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @JordiMorris1, @HuobiGlobal, @f2pool_official

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