History of Ethereum Upgrades: A detailed dive into the Blockchain Evolution
















Staking Basics


History of Ethe...


History of Ethereum Upgrades: A detailed dive into the Blockchain Evolution

4 mins read / updated on Wed Aug 23 2023


The Shapella & Capella hard fork, which was recently launched, marked a pivotal transition for Ethereum, transforming it into a genuine PoS blockchain. Throughout nearly ten years, Ethereum has witnessed numerous modifications and enhancements.

What is a fork?

A fork symbolizes the alterations made in a blockchain's framework. It represents an enhancement or adjustment in the network. This change can range from a minor tweak to a monumental shift, such as moving from one consensus system to another. Both community enthusiasts and developers can initiate these forks.

Hard forks vs. soft forks

A hard fork renders the older versions of the chain redundant. Thus, all network validators must adapt to the most recent version, leading to the birth of a new chain. Participants from the older version receive digital assets in the new chain due to shared historical data.

On the other hand, soft forks maintain backward compatibility and aren't as extreme as hard forks. Often, the team responsible for the protocol's growth employs soft forks to embed novel features within the codebase.

Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs)

An Ethereum Improvement Proposal refers to a structured document highlighting fresh features or procedures within the Ethereum blockchain. Typically, owing to the intricate nature of crafting a comprehensive EIP, app developers take the lead. EIP-1 serves as the guideline for formulating an EIP.

EIP-4488 (2023)

Introduced on February 25, 2022, Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4844 (EIP-4844) is a network enhancement that implements a new kind of transaction, called blob-carrying transaction. This was done to minimize transaction expenses on the Ethereum network.

Shanghai - 2023

On April 12, 2023, the Shanghai upgrade was executed, introducing staking withdrawals to the execution layer. This, combined with the Capella upgrade, permitted blocks to facilitate withdrawal functions, enabling users to transfer their digital assets from the Beacon Chain to the execution layer.

Capella - 2023

The Capella upgrade, the third significant enhancement to the consensus layer, introduced staking withdrawals. This upgrade synchronized with the execution layer, Shanghai, to offer staking withdrawal capabilities. Additionally, it introduced an automatic account sweeping feature, streamlining the process for validator accounts to claim rewards or complete withdrawals.

EIP-1559 (2022)

EIP-1559's objective was to enhance the network's efficiency by establishing a basic fee structure for transactions and expanding the block size. A larger block size ensures more transactions, mitigating competition among users.

Paris (The Merge) - 2022

Activated on September 15, 2022, the Paris upgrade marked a significant shift. The primary highlight was the transition from the proof-of-work mechanism to the proof-of-stake consensus. This upgrade presented a new set of internal API methodologies, coined as the Engine API.

Bellatrix - 2022

Bellatrix, the subsequent planned upgrade for the Beacon Chain, readied the chain for The Merge. This upgrade fine-tuned the consensus client's awareness, marking the transition from the final proof-of-work block to the initial proof-of-stake block.

Gray Glacier - 2022

The sole modification in the Gray Glacier upgrade was the postponement of the difficulty bomb by a quarter. This adjustment resembled previous upgrades like Arrow Glacier and Muir Glacier.

Arrow Glacier - 2021

The Arrow Glacier upgrade extended the difficulty bomb by a few months. This was the sole amendment in this upgrade.

Altair - 2021

The Altair enhancement, the Beacon Chain's inaugural planned upgrade, introduced support for "sync committees". This upgrade also escalated validator inactivity and slashing penalties.

London - 2021

The London upgrade incorporated EIP-1559, overhauling the transaction fee structure. This upgrade also brought changes to gas refunds and the Ice Age timetable.

Berlin - 2021

Berlin, the upgrade launched in 2021, improved gas expenses for certain EVM operations and increased support for diverse transaction types.

Beacon Chain Genesis - 2020

The Beacon Chain marked its beginning on December 1, 2020, symbolizing a pivotal step in realizing the Ethereum vision.

Staking deposit contract deployed - 2020

The introduction of the staking deposit contract brought staking to Ethereum. This contract played a crucial role in the timeline for the Beacon Chain launch.

Muir Glacier - 2020

The Muir Glacier upgrade introduced a delay mechanism to the difficulty bomb, addressing potential transaction delays on the network.

Istanbul - 2019

The Istanbul upgrade optimized gas costs for specific EVM actions, enhanced the network's resilience against potential attacks, and allowed for the integration of Ethereum with Zcash.

Constantinople - 2019

The Constantinople upgrade made multiple amendments, including improvements to contract size for development and the introduction of the CREATE2 operation code.

Byzantium - 2017

Byzantium improved security and confidentiality, introduced account abstraction, and upgraded the network's overall efficiency.

Spurious Dragon - 2016

Spurious Dragon was an emergency upgrade that aimed to address the repeated denial-of-service attacks on the Ethereum network.

Tangerine Whistle - 2016

This upgrade focused on preventing malicious contract spam that aimed to drain funds from user accounts.

Homestead - 2016

Homestead was Ethereum's inaugural planned upgrade and aimed to enhance the stability, security, and performance of the Ethereum network.

Frontier - 2015

Frontier was Ethereum's very first live release. It was primarily a beta version for developers to experiment and learn.

What's on the horizon for Ethereum?

As Ethereum continues to progress and evolve, further upgrades and enhancements are inevitable. The continued focus will likely be on scalability, security, and efficiency, ensuring Ethereum remains at the forefront of the blockchain and cryptocurrency world.


The Ethereum blockchain has undergone numerous upgrades, each aiming to enhance the network's capabilities and address specific issues. As Ethereum continues its journey, we can expect more advancements and innovations, ensuring it remains a robust, secure, and efficient blockchain platform.



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