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The history of Ethereum

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

Looking for future protocol upgrades? Learn about upcoming upgrades to Ethereum.

2022

Paris (The Merge)

馃搯Sep-15-2022 06:42:42 AM +UTC
馃ПBlock number: 15537394
馃挵ETH price: $1,472 USD
馃枼锔 ethereum.org on waybackmachine

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, to be activated. This was arguably the most significant upgrade in Ethereum history since Homestead!


Bellatrix

馃搯Sep-06-2022 11:34:47 AM +UTC
馃ПEpoch number: 144,896
馃挵ETH price: $1,558 USD
馃枼锔 ethereum.org on waybackmachine

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

馃搯Jun-30-2022 10:54:04 AM +UTC
馃ПBlock number: 15,050,000
馃挵ETH price: $1,069 USD
馃枼锔 ethereum.org on waybackmachine

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

馃搯Dec-09-2021 07:55:23 PM +UTC
馃ПBlock number: 13,773,000
馃挵ETH price: $4111 USD
馃枼锔 ethereum.org on waybackmachine

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

馃搯Oct-27-2021 10:56:23 AM +UTC
馃ПEpoch number: 74,240
馃挵ETH price: $4024 USD
馃枼锔 ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

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

馃帀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

馃搯 Aug-05-2021 12:33:42 PM +UTC
馃П Block number: 12,965,000
馃挵 ETH price: $2621 USD
馃枼锔 ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

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


Berlin

馃搯 Apr-15-2021 10:07:03 AM +UTC
馃П Block number: 12,244,000
馃挵 ETH price: $2454 USD
馃枼锔 ethereum.org on waybackmachine

Summary

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

2020

Beacon Chain genesis

馃搯 Dec-01-2020 12:00:35 PM +UTC
馃П Beacon Chain block number: 1
馃挵 ETH price: $586.23 USD
馃枼锔 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 Ethereum vision.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement


Staking deposit contract deployed

馃搯 Oct-14-2020 09:22:52 AM +UTC
馃П Block number: 11,052,984
馃挵 ETH price: $379.04 USD
馃枼锔 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 Ethereum upgrade.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement


Muir Glacier

馃搯 Jan-02-2020 08:30:49 AM +UTC
馃П Block number: 9,200,000
馃挵 ETH price: $127.18 USD
馃枼锔 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.

2019

Istanbul

馃搯 Dec-08-2019 12:25:09 AM +UTC
馃П Block number: 9,069,000
馃挵 ETH price: $151.06 USD
馃枼锔 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


Constantinople

馃搯 Feb-28-2019 07:52:04 PM +UTC
馃П Block number: 7,280,000
馃挵 ETH price: $136.29 USD
馃枼锔 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

2017

Byzantium

馃搯 Oct-16-2017 05:22:11 AM +UTC
馃П Block number: 4,370,000
馃挵 ETH price: $334.23 USD
馃枼锔 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 methods to allow for layer 2 scaling.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

2016

Spurious Dragon

馃搯 Nov-22-2016 04:15:44 PM +UTC
馃П Block number: 2,675,000
馃挵 ETH price: $9.84 USD
馃枼锔 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 鈥渄ebloat鈥 of the blockchain state.
  • adding replay attack protection.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement


Tangerine whistle

馃搯 Oct-18-2016 01:19:31 PM +UTC
馃П Block number: 2,463,000
馃挵 ETH price: $12.50 USD
馃枼锔 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


DAO fork

馃搯 Jul-20-2016 01:20:40 PM +UTC
馃П Block number: 1,920,000
馃挵 ETH price: $12.54 USD
馃枼锔 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 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. 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

馃搯 Mar-14-2016 06:49:53 PM +UTC
馃П Block number: 1,150,000
馃挵 ETH price: $12.50 USD
馃枼锔 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

2015

Frontier thawing

馃搯 Sep-07-2015 09:33:09 PM +UTC
馃П Block number: 200,000
馃挵 ETH price: $1.24 USD
馃枼锔 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 鈥 transactions require 21,000 gas. The difficulty bomb was introduced to ensure a future hard-fork to proof-of-stake.


Frontier

馃搯 Jul-30-2015 03:26:13 PM +UTC
馃П Block number: 0
馃挵 ETH price: N/A
馃枼锔 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 鈥榯hawing鈥 period enabled miners to start their operations and for early adopters to install their clients without having to 鈥榬ush鈥.

Read the Ethereum Foundation announcement

2014

Ether sale

馃搯 July 22 - September 02, 2014
馃枼锔 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

馃搯 April 01, 2014
馃枼锔 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

馃搯 November 27, 2013
馃枼锔 ethereum.org on waybackmachine

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

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