An Ethereum maintenance update released today, called Frozen Pyjack, locks in the dates that Ethereum's mainnet upgrade, Istanbul, will be deployed on Ethereum testnets. Istanbul is Ethereum's long-debated hard fork that promises to make the network more efficient.
Testnets are testing environments used by developers to simulate the real Ethereum network before their code goes live on the mainnet. Developers can play around with smart contracts without having to pay the cost of gas.
The hard fork for the most popular test network, called Ropsten, is scheduled for October 2. The hard fork for the testnet Görli is scheduled October 30, and for the testnet Rinkeby, November 13.
The Istanbul mainnet fork will go out in two parts. The first update will take place later this year, and the second, sometime in the first quarter of 2020.
The second update will likely include the ProgPoW (Progressive Proof of Work) algorithm, which is supposed to remove the mining advantages given to purpose-built miners. ProgPoW was pushed back because it was still being audited by an independent group known as the Ethereum Cat Herders. A couple of weeks ago, they gave ProgPoW the go-ahead.
And all this is happening with “zero involvement from The Great Dictator™,” Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin tweeted. Previously, Buterin drew criticism by those who thought he played too much of a role in the network.