Ethereum Berlin Is Here, Next Stop Is London

The Ethereum blockchain has implemented the Berlin hard fork at block 12,244,000 this past Thursday (April 15, 2021). This was not the anticipated Optimism Rollout yet, but instead are a set of improvement proposals to help the network with gas costs and security.

Berlin was supposed to implemented in 2020, but as with most Ethereum projects it got pushed back. There were centralization concerns around the Geth client on which most Ethereum nodes operate. An important feature of Berlin is the live swapping of Ethereum from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake blockchain.

Other important features of Berlin are optimizations for smart contracts including gas efficiency, updates to EVM code and protection against DDOS attacks.

The upgrade implements the following:

  • EIP-2565, reduces gas cost for a specific transaction type that uses modular exponentiation.
  • EIP-2718, makes all transaction types “backwards compatible” using so-called “envelope transactions,” which allows the addition of new transaction logic into Ethereum.
  • EIP-2929, increases gas costs for “op code” transactions, a pain point for denial of service attacks on Ethereum in the past.
  • EIP-2930, a new transaction type (made possible by EIP-2718’s envelope transactions) which allows its users to create templates for future, complex transactions in a bid to lower gas costs.

The upgrades are in line with the bigger upgrade that will introduce EIP 1559 called London.