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Page last updated: December 21, 2020

The history of Ethereum

A timeline of all the major milestones, forks, and updates to the Ethereum blockchain.

What are forks?

Changes to the rules of the Ethereum protocol which often include planned technical upgrades.

2020

Beacon Chain genesis

πŸ“† Dec-01-2020 12:00:35 PM +UTC
🧱 Beacon Chain block number: 1
πŸ’° ETH price: $586.23 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The Beacon Chain needed 16384 deposits of 32 staked ETH to ship securely. This happened on November 27, meaning the Beacon Chain started producing blocks on December 1, 2020. This is an important first step in achieving the Eth2 vision.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement


Staking deposit contract deployed

πŸ“† Oct-14-2020 09:22:52 AM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 11052984
πŸ’° ETH price: $379.04 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The staking deposit contract introduced staking to the Ethereum ecosystem. Although a mainnet contract, it had a direct impact on the timeline for launching the Beacon Chain, an important Eth2 upgrade.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement


Muir Glacier

πŸ“† Jan-02-2020 08:30:49 AM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 9200000
πŸ’° ETH price: $127.18 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The Muir Glacier fork introduced a delay to the difficulty bomb. Increases in block difficulty of the proof-of-work consensus mechanism threatened to degrade the usability of Ethereum by increasing wait times for sending transactions and using dapps.

Muir Glacier EIPs

Official improvements included in this fork.

2019

Istanbul

πŸ“† Dec-08-2019 12:25:09 AM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 9069000
πŸ’° ETH price: $151.06 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The Istanbul fork:

  • Optimised the gas cost of certain actions in the EVM.
  • Improved denial-of-service attack resilience.
  • Made Layer 2 scaling solutions based on SNARKs and STARKs more performant.
  • Enabled Ethereum and Zcash to interoperate.
  • Allowed contracts to introduce more creative functions.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

Istanbul EIPs

Official improvements included in this fork.


Constantinople

πŸ“† Feb-28-2019 07:52:04 PM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 7280000
πŸ’° ETH price: $136.29 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The Constantinople fork:

  • Ensured the blockchain didn't freeze before proof-of-stake was implemented.
  • Optimised the gas cost of certain actions in the EVM.
  • Added the ability to interact with addresses that haven't been created yet.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

Constantinople EIPs

Official improvements included in this fork.

2017

Byzantium

πŸ“† Oct-16-2017 05:22:11 AM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 4370000
πŸ’° ETH price: $334.23 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The Byzantium fork:

  • Reduced block mining rewards from 5 to 3 ETH.
  • Delayed the difficulty bomb by a year.
  • Added ability to make non-state-changing calls to other contracts.
  • Added certain cryptography methodss to allow for [layer 2 scaling]((/developers/docs/layer-2-scaling/).

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

Byzantium EIPs

Official improvements included in this fork.

2016

Spurious Dragon

πŸ“† Nov-22-2016 04:15:44 PM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 2675000
πŸ’° ETH price: $9.84 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The Spurious Dragon fork was the second response to the denial of service (DoS) attacks on the network (September/October 2016) including:

  • tuning opcode pricing to prevent future attacks on the network.
  • enabling β€œdebloat” of the blockchain state.
  • adding replay attack protection.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

Spurious Dragon EIPs

Official improvements included in this fork.


Tangerine whistle

πŸ“† Oct-18-2016 01:19:31 PM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 2463000
πŸ’° ETH price: $12.50 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The Tangerine Whistle fork was the first response to the denial of service (DoS) attacks on the network (September/October 2016) including:

  • addressing urgent network health issues concerning underpriced operation codes.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

Tangerine Whistle EIPs

Official improvements included in this fork.


DAO fork

πŸ“† Jul-20-2016 01:20:40 PM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 1920000
πŸ’° ETH price: $12.54 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The DAO fork was in response to the 2016 DAO attack where an insecure DAO contract was drained of over 3.6 million ETH in a hack. The fork moved the funds from the faulty contract to a new contract with a single funtion: withdraw. Anyone who lost funds could withdraw 1 ETH for every 100 DAO tokens in their wallets.

This course of action was voted on by the Ethereum community. Any ETH holder was able to vote via a transaction on a voting platform. The decision to fork reached over 85% of the votes.

Some miners refused to fork because the DAO incident wasn't a defect in the protocol. They went on to form Ethereum Classic.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement


Homestead

πŸ“† Mar-14-2016 06:49:53 PM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 1150000
πŸ’° ETH price: $12.50 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The Homestead fork that looked to the future. It included several protocol changes and a networking change that gave Ethereum the ability to do further network upgrades.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

Homestead EIPs

Official improvements included in this fork.

2015

Frontier thawing

πŸ“† Sep-07-2015 09:33:09 PM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 200000
πŸ’° ETH price: $1.24 USD
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

The frontier thawing fork lifted the 5,000 gas limit per block and set the default gas price to 51 gwei. This allowed for transactions – transactions require 21,000 gas.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement


Frontier

πŸ“† Jul-30-2015 03:26:13 PM +UTC
🧱 Block number: 0
πŸ’° ETH price: N/A
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

Frontier was a live, but barebone implementation of the Ethereum project. It followed the successful Olympic testing phase. It was intended for technical users, specifically developers. Blocks had a gas limit of 5,000. This β€˜thawing’ period enabled miners to start their operations and for early adopters to install their clients without having to β€˜rush’.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

2014

Ether sale

πŸ“† July 22 - September 02, 2014
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Ether officially went on sale for 42 days. You could buy it with BTC.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement


Yellowpaper released

πŸ“† April 01, 2014
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

The Yellow Paper, authored by Dr. Gavin Wood, is a technical definition of the Ethereum protocol.

View the Yellow Paper

2013

Whitepaper released

πŸ“† November 27, 2013
πŸ–₯️ ethereum.org on waybackmachine

The introductory paper, published in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, before the project's launch in 2015.