Hardwork Byzantium — the first part of the next release of the Ethereum Metropolis — was successfully activated 16 October 2017. It was also announced that the second part of Metropolis, Constantinople will be held in the first quarter of 2018.
The separation of the release into two parts was a necessary measure – «bomb of complexity» inherent in the algorithm PoW Ethereum, threatened to make the network unworkable in November, and one of the important but not critical for the operation updates the EIP 859, did not have time to deadline. So it is and some other simple updates, it was decided to postpone the second part of the release, as soon as he go to work on the next release Serenity in which consensus PoW had to be replaced by PoS.
The reality has forced to change plans. The rising cost of the network forced the developers to apply a conservative approach for the transition to PoS, starting with the hybrid Protocol PoW+PoS Casper FFG. At the same time, the developers agreed to increase the terms of testing updates in the test network, to avoid situation when after the technical hard forks in the network was a violation of consensus between clients geth and parity. However, the most drastic change of plans occurred after the popular blockchain-game Cryptocotyle a few days managed to practically paralyze the network due to the high volume of transactions. Cats clearly demonstrated the lack of scalability of Ethereum and forced developers to focus on Casper, sharding and technology of Plasma, postponing the previously scheduled upgrade to better times. As a result, Constantinople was in limbo.
The last meeting of the developers of the Ethereum Foundation is not made clear, and Reddit had an interesting discussion. On duty the user’s question «So when will be Constantinople», one of the developers of the Foundation, Peter Ilahi (Péter Szilágyi), somewhat irritably replied:
What is Constantinople? Seriously, we don’t know yet what will be included, how can you talk about the timing?
The representative of the Parity of African Sheldon (Sheldon Afri) responded:
I’ll be optimistic and say that this is the fourth quarter of 2018.
You need to decide which EIP will be included: 4 – 6 weeks.
To include them in the code of clients: 3 to 4 months.
Test network: 4 – 6 weeks.
Preparing and conducting hard forks: 2 weeks.
Still (2), (3) and (4) are pure speculation, there is no clarity on (1)
Clarity and truth, not yet. The last meeting of key developers (No. 34) was held on 23 February and a final decision on it was taken. Meetings are held every two weeks, however, in connection with the conference ETHCC in Paris March 8 – 10, the following (No. 35) will be held in two weeks.
The representative of the Fund Ethereum Hudson Jameson summed up the discussion:
Indeed, a number of EIP, previously planned in Constantinople, delayed in favor of solutions for scaling, such as Casper. Or rather can be said only after the next meeting in two weeks.
In any case, even if the scaling problem will be temporarily solved by using Plasma or one of the channel state, the final transition at PoS must occur no later than March 2019, because the delay «bombs of complexity,» included the release of Byzantium, this time will end. Of course, this delay can be enabled using hard forks unlimited number of times, however, it is unlikely it will affect the reputation of Ethereum.