The Berlin hard fork was scheduled to start once the network processed block #12,244,000, implementing 4 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) designed to improve the efficacy of the network and reduce gas costs at a time when saturation is becoming an increasing issue.
The 4 EIPs introduced with the latest hard fork are EIP-2565: ModExp Gas Cost, EIP-2929: Gas cost increases for state access opcodes, EIP-2718: Typed Transaction Envelope, and EIP-2930: Optional access lists.
These proposals aim to lower gas costs to bring them in line with the cost of executing other operations, introduce a new transaction type that operates as an envelope for multiple transaction types, gas cost increases for certain states to mitigate DoS attack vectors, and fix breaking changes to existing contracts, respectively.
Named after the city where Devcon 0 took place, the Berlin upgrade has been one of the most anticipated hard forks in recent months, especially due to the chance that EIP-1559 had of being released with the fork.
EIP-1559 was highly controversial among the Ethereum community as it proposed the burning of fees set by the network to reduce ETH supply.
ETH Reaches New All-time High
As the uptrend in the cryptocurrency market continues, Ether has seen increasing popularity and value over the past months by breaking all-time high after all-time high, with the latest taking place on April 16th as the coin reached a value of $2,544.30.
Some of the factors behind the uptrend have been the increasing popularity of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market in general among institutional investors and personalities which has resulted in increased coverage by mainstream media, as well as important milestones like Coinbase’s listing in Nasdaq.
According to experts, it seems that most investors have recently been pulling their BTC and ETH holdings out of crypto exchanges, suggesting their intention to continue holding them over the long-term and decreasing the available supply for the two cryptocurrencies, increasing their value in the process.
Despite the continued congestion and increasing gas prices experienced by the network over the last months, its coin has continued to increase its value over the last year in a steady manner after some minor corrections.
The Fight For The Top
While Ethereum is the second cryptocurrency by market capitalization, it is the most used network in terms of the creation of dApps and other blockchain-based platforms, being the epicenter of both the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and Non-Fungible Token (NFT) booms that started in 2020.
With millions of users and thousands of applications using around the world, Ethereum has been seen as the leader of the industry for a long time, being used as the referent for newer projects like Tron, Cardano, Polkadot, and Elrond to beat.
One of the largest difficulties experienced by the Ethereum network over the last year has been the increase of gas prices from under $5 to more than $35 during 2020 and 2021, which has affected platforms and users who depend on a high volume of low-value transactions, such as blockchain gaming.
The Ethereum team is currently working on the release of Ethereum 2.0, a much-needed upgrade that would address the increasing gas prices and performance issues by changing to a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm that would allow the network to escalate better and operate more efficiently.
However, Ethereum is not the only one working hard to offer developers and users a better experience, as projects like Polkadot and Cardano have been progressing through their development phase in what could become a major competition for the blockchain network throne.
Both Cardano and Polkadot have recently made it into the top 10 by market capitalization despite not having been “completed” as supporters and investors continue to look for alternatives for an overly saturated network.