With all the hubbub about Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in the news, Ethereum has been overlooked by some.

However, the Ethereum Developer team has just released word that the Metropolis hard fork is set to occur in late September of this year.

Road map ahead

The hard fork has been widely anticipated after the Ethereum road map for 2017 was released earlier this year. The map indicated that the coming release would contain some major upgrades for the platform.

The announcement earlier in the year indicated a three to six-month window for release, and late September is right on the cusp of a full six months.

While the timing is later than many had hoped, the news is a welcome encouragement for those seeking Ethereum upgrades.

Anticipated upgrades

The new hard fork should enable some significant upgrades.

First, increasing anonymity will come with new ‘zk-SNARKs,’ or Zero-knowledge proofs. Users will be able to perform anonymous transactions at higher levels than in the past.

Second, programming and smart contracts will be made far easier with the new upgrade, relieving some of the pressure on current programmers. Gas will also be adjusted for bill settling.

Third, masking for security enthusiasts will allow users to determine the address for which they have a private key. This will increase security on the network, even against quantum computer hacking.

Finally, the upgrade includes a ‘Difficulty-Bomb’ intended to make mining exponentially more difficult.

The bomb is designed to be an intermediate step in the transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) on the network. This has often been referred to as the ‘Ethereum Ice Age.’  

Price response?

It remains unclear whether the upgrade will cause prices to increase or decrease. As mining slows, the price may fall.

However, the upgrades should increase the amount of users on the system overall, causing the price to rise.

Regardless, Metropolis is the penultimate stop on the road map - Serenity, the next upgrade, should produce an increase in stability, causing greater investment and price support.