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Page last updated: November 16, 2023

The history of Ethereum

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

Skip straight to information about some of the particularly important past upgrades: The Beacon Chain; The Merge; and EIP-1559

Looking for future protocol upgrades? Learn about upcoming upgrades on the Ethereum roadmap.

2023

Shanghai

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Apr 12, 2023, 10:27:35 PM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $1,917.00

Summary

The Shanghai upgrade brought staking withdrawals to the execution layer. In tandem with the Capella upgrade, this enabled blocks to accept withdrawal operations, which allows stakers to withdraw their ETH from the Beacon Chain to the execution layer.


Capella

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Apr 12, 2023, 10:27:35 PM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $1,917.00

Summary

The Capella upgrade was the third major upgrade to the consensus layer (Beacon Chain) and enabled staking withdrawals. Capella occurred synchronously with the execution layer upgrade, Shanghai, and enabled staking withdrawal functionality.

This consensus layer upgrade brought the ability for stakers who did not provide withdrawal credentials with their initial deposit to do so, thereby enabling withdrawals.

The upgrade also provided automatic account sweeping functionality, which continuously processes validator accounts for any available rewards payments or full withdrawals.

2022

Paris (The Merge)

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Sep 15, 2022, 6:42:42 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $1,472.00

Summary

The Paris upgrade was triggered by the proof-of-work blockchain passing a terminal total difficulty of 58750000000000000000000. This happened at block 15537393 on 15th September 2022, triggering the Paris upgrade the next block. Paris was The Merge transition - its major feature was switching off the proof-of-work mining algorithm and associated consensus logic and switching on proof-of-stake instead. Paris itself was an upgrade to the execution clients (equivalent to Bellatrix on the consensus layer) that enabled them to take instruction from their connected consensus clients. This required a new set of internal API methods, collectively known as the Engine API(opens in a new tab), to be activated. This was arguably the most significant upgrade in Ethereum history since Homestead!


Bellatrix

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Sep 6, 2022, 11:34:47 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $1,558.00

Summary

The Bellatrix upgrade was the second scheduled upgrade for the Beacon Chain, preparing the chain for The Merge. It brings validator penalties to their full values for inactivity and slashable offenses. Bellatrix also includes an update to the fork choice rules to prepare the chain for The Merge and the transition from the last proof-of-work block to the first proof-of-stake block. This includes making consensus clients aware of the terminal total difficulty of 58750000000000000000000.


Gray Glacier

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Jun 30, 2022, 10:54:04 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $1,069.00

Summary

The Gray Glacier network upgrade pushed back the difficulty bomb by three months. This is the only change introduced in this upgrade, and is similar in nature to the Arrow Glacier and Muir Glacier upgrades. Similar changes have been performed on the Byzantium, Constantinople and London network upgrades.

2021

Arrow Glacier

πŸ“†

Dec 9, 2021, 7:55:23 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $4,111.00

Summary

The Arrow Glacier network upgrade pushed back the difficulty bomb by several months. This is the only change introduced in this upgrade, and is similar in nature to the Muir Glacier upgrade. Similar changes have been performed on the Byzantium, Constantinople and London network upgrades.


Altair

πŸ“†

Oct 27, 2021, 10:56:23 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $4,024.00

Summary

The Altair upgrade was the first scheduled upgrade for the Beacon Chain. It added support for "sync committees"β€”enabling light clients, and increased validator inactivity and slashing penalties as development progressed towards The Merge.

πŸŽ‰Fun fact!

Altair was the first major network upgrade that had an exact rollout time. Every upgrade prior had been based on a declared block number on the proof-of-work chain, where block times vary. The Beacon Chain does not require solving for proof-of-work, and instead works on a time-based epoch system consisting of 32 twelve-second "slots" of time where validators can propose blocks. This is why we knew exactly when we would hit epoch 74,240 and Altair became live!


London

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Aug 5, 2021, 12:33:42 PM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $2,621.00

Summary

The London upgrade introduced EIP-1559(opens in a new tab), which reformed the transaction fee market, along with changes to how gas refunds are handled and the Ice Age schedule.


Berlin

πŸ“†

Apr 15, 2021, 10:07:03 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $2,454.00

Summary

The Berlin upgrade optimized gas cost for certain EVM actions, and increases support for multiple transaction types.

2020

Beacon Chain genesis

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Dec 1, 2020, 12:00:35 PM +UTC

🧱Slot number: 1(opens in a new tab)
πŸ’°ETH price:Β $586.23

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 Ethereum vision.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement(opens in a new tab)


Staking deposit contract deployed

πŸ“†

Oct 14, 2020, 9:22:52 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $379.04

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 Ethereum upgrade.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement(opens in a new tab)


Muir Glacier

πŸ“†

Jan 2, 2020, 8:30:49 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $127.18

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.

2019

Istanbul

πŸ“†

Dec 8, 2019, 12:25:09 PM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $151.06

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(opens in a new tab)


Constantinople

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Feb 28, 2019, 7:52:04 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $136.29

Summary

The Constantinople fork:

  • Reduced block mining rewards from 3 to 2 ETH.
  • 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(opens in a new tab)

2017

Byzantium

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Oct 16, 2017, 5:22:11 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $334.23

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 methods to allow for layer 2 scaling.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement(opens in a new tab)

2016

Spurious Dragon

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Nov 22, 2016, 4:15:44 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $9.84

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(opens in a new tab)


Tangerine whistle

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Oct 18, 2016, 1:19:31 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $12.50

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(opens in a new tab)


DAO fork

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Jul 20, 2016, 1:20:40 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $12.54

Summary

The DAO fork was in response to the 2016 DAO attack(opens in a new tab) 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(opens in a new tab) with a single function: 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(opens in a new tab). 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(opens in a new tab).

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement(opens in a new tab)


Homestead

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Mar 14, 2016, 6:49:53 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $12.50

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(opens in a new tab)

2015

Frontier thawing

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Sep 7, 2015, 9:33:09 AM +UTC

πŸ’°ETH price:Β $1.24

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. The difficulty bomb was introduced to ensure a future hard-fork to proof-of-stake.


Frontier

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(opens in a new tab)

2014

Ether sale

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

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement(opens in a new tab)


Yellowpaper released

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

View the Yellow Paper(opens in a new tab)

2013

Whitepaper released

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

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