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In just a few days, Ethereum will initiate one of its biggest-ever upgrades. The Ethereum Foundation insists it will be pretty uneventful – a view shared by most participants of the world’s no. 2 blockchain.

Nothing to See Here

The hard fork protocol, which is projected for Sunday night, is consistent with Ethereum’s roadmap. The fork will implement the Byzantium code, which is part of the larger Metropolis upgrade. The Metropolis protocol has been effectively pushed back due to ongoing development, a clear indication that the Ethereum Foundation is erring on the side of caution.

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Byzantium gets the ball rolling by fixing a slew of technical problems related to ‘returndata’ operations, difficulty adjustments and transaction return data, among others. A total of nine Ethereum Improvement Protocols (EIPs) should be fixed as a result of the fork, thus creating a more efficient network.

Ethereum has been very careful in introducing substantial changes to its protocol. Though past forks have been successful, an emergency fork last year triggered a chain split in the digital currency. A new asset, Ethereum Classic, was born in its wake. Both tokens are identical in every way up until block 1,920,000.

While the Foundation has reassured market participants it’ll be smooth sailing this Sunday, investors can never be too sure when there’s money on the line (not to mention Ethereum Classic in the rear view).

The second hard fork of Metropolis is called Constantinople, but there is currently no timetable for its implementation.

Hard Fork Optimism Lifts Ether

Ether’s price is climbing steadily ahead of the proposed upgrade. The digital currency rose 11.5% against the dollar on Friday and has gained more than 15% since Monday’s low near $292. At press time, ether was trading around $336, the highest level since early September.

Like other cryptocurrencies, ether is also following bitcoin prices higher. Bitcoin gained nearly 30% this week en route to new record highs.

Bitcoin’s total market value is $94.5 billion, easily tops among digital currencies. Ethereum is a distant second at $32.2 billion.

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