Thanos: An Overview of Ethereum Classic’s Upcoming Hard Fork | Hacker Noon

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Brief historical background: more than 4 years ago (in June 2016 to be precise) Ethereum Classic saw the wide world after the notorious DAO project hack.

After it, Ethereum Classic emerged as a hardfork of Ethereum. Okay, it’s not exactly true, because there was a decision to keep the name Ethereum for hardfork, whereas the old platform was rebranded to Ethereum Classic. So actually Ethereum Classic is the original Ethereum, that’s the twist! 

Since then both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic have undergone a lot of updates and upgrades, but now we’re going to talk about a brand new hardfork of Ethereum Classic getting in the way – Thanos. 

When is ETC hardfork? The launch of the new network takes place in 2 stages: 

  1. Activation Of Mordor Testnet – successfully activated on October 18, 2020 and implemented on the ETC 2,520,000th block.
  2. Activation of the core network Ethereum Classic is planned on November 28, 2020 on the ETC 11,700,000th block.

What is Thanos?

ECIP-1099 also known as Thanos is the next update on Ethereum Classic blockchain. As we have already said, it’s a hardfork, but it would be good to refresh our memory on what hardforks are in the first place.

Hardfork is a non-backward-compatible blockchain split that brings a new way of doing things to the blockchain.

Usually, a hardfork can’t work with older versions, so it requires all the nodes to be updated to the latest version, although the new version keeps the data of all the previous transactions.  

Just like any other split, blockchain split may cause a stressful time to those who are attached. Not everyone is usually happy with the changes, sometimes a hardfork may cause a chain split in two incompatible blockchains.

This is what happened to Ethereum itself in 2016 and it also explains the fact there are so many versions of Bitcoin. But as for today, what drives the developers to bring around the hardfork? Saying it short – the purpose of Thanos is to calibrate the epoch length used in DAG calculations. Let’s explain it. 

Why is the Thanos Upgrade important?

There are different cryptocurrencies and all of them provide different methods for mining. Among them are CPU mining, GPU mining, Cloud mining and ASIC mining being a huge hit among the mining rigs.

ASIC has very fast computational speeds, it stands out as less power-hungry mining machine while being more incentive mining machine. However, ETC stands as the ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency. It tries to evade ASIC mining and make room for GPU mining. 

All in all, Ethereum Classic as a noble Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency, tries to distance ASIC mining machines by limiting memory throughput. Ethash, the performance of the algorithm used for mining Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies, hashes the coins with the memory bandwidth, which means that the speed with which data could be read from memory is limited. 

As a matter of fact, the original ETC settings were proved as too aggressive. The growth of Ethash size has been a termination threat of ETC production on the vast majority of ASIC miners, whose GPU memory did not exceed 3 GB or 4 GB, the dataset file for Ethereum Classic got so large it couldn’t fit into 4GB video-cards anymore, so GPUs turned obsolete, even though they’re still widely loved and used by miners. At this point, Thanos comes up as a Savior of the day. It sets out to make the memory consumption smaller. 

The Ethereum Classic hardfork is liable to double the Ethash epoch from 30,000 to 60,000 blocks. Thus, the dataset file used for mining ETC crypto will increase from 4 GB to a decent 2,47 GB and slow down its growth in the future. All the way round, for today this decision seems prospective; lately hardware manufacturers didn’t seek to release new models due to Ethereum’s plans to switch to the PoS algorithm in the near future. 

Developers also expect that the Thanos hardfork, with the performance of the algorithm called EtcHash, will significantly increase the size of the Ethereum Classic hashrate. At the current rate of ETC, coin mining will become much more profitable and will bring back into the game almost canceled 3 and 4 GB GPU systems and prolong their life for another 3 years or until that time when ETC decides to get off the PoW algorithm. Thanos is also prone to increase security and promote a healthier ecosystem of the blockchain. 

Thanos hardfork is a great change to happen to Ethereum Classic!

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