The Ethereum's network has gone through a long-awaited fork, Istanbul, which took place at block number 9 069 000. It is the third update in 2019.
Ethereum's Eighth Hard Fork - the effects
The Ethereum's network has already undergone eight Hard Forks. Constantinople was the last one and now the time has come for Istanbul. This fork brought 6 updates with it. An increase in interoperability between Ethereum and Zcash is the most exciting one. This Hard Fork has also focused on improving the scalability performance of zero-knowledge privacy solutions, for instance SNARK and STARK.
Hard Forks refer to radical changes in the network's base protocol. New rules, specifying which blocks and transactions will be considered as valid, are created within their frameworks. Considering blockchain's decentralized nature, both the community and developers are forced to work together.
What did the Ethereum network user have to do?
There was no obligation for people who are in the possession of Ethereum, either in the cryptocurrency wallet or on the cryptocurrency exchange, to take any additional steps, unless their service provider informed them about doing so.
Miners and node runners, on the other hand, were supposed to update their software to the latest version of the Ethereum client. If they did not follow the instructions, they are stuck in an incompatible chain. As a consequence, there will be no possibility for them to function in an upgraded Ethereum network.
Information directed at developers, saying to review all EIPs in order to determine if any of them affected their current contract, was also posted on the official Ethereum's blog. If they did affect the contract, the developers had to update it accordingly.