Ethereum

A Stable Homestead

Homestead

The Ethereum Foundation has released the date of the official roll out of Homestead, the next version of the Ethereum platform.  Currently, it is planned to be rolled out on block number 1,150,000.  That translates approximately to midday on March 14th, otherwise known as Pi Day. (Ethereum programmers do have a good sense of humour!)

Posted on their blog February 29th, the Ethereum foundation stated that as of the release of Homestead, they will be removing the crossed out “Safe” from their website and promoting it as a stable environment for developers.  While sounding like a marketing move, their idea is to demonstrate Ethereum is ready for the mainstream.

Up until now, the Frontier release was always designed for developers to get comfortable with the platform and stress test the network.  Bugs were worked out and changes to the system were made.  The Homestead release is the Ethereum Foundation stating they feel the system is ready for access by the general population and to encourage mainstream adoption of the platform.  

“Today, we’re incredibly proud to announce that we are finally ready to remove the scratched out word “safe” from our website as move into a new phase: Homestead.”

-Ethereum Blog post, February 29th, 2016.

Early adopters and developers flocked to Ethereum during the Frontier phase.  Testing the network is crucial to long term viability of the system, but stability allows programmers the comfort to know that the code they write is for a platform that will not see major changes that would affect the work they do. The move to Homestead includes some protocol changes and a hard fork of the code to keep in line with the new stable platform.

“Homestead is the second major version release of the Ethereum platform, which includes several protocol changes and a networking change that gives us the ability to do further network upgrades..”

-Ethereum Blog post, February 29th, 2016.

Already, major players in the tech sector are taking notice of Ethereum.  Recently, Microsoft announced it was backing projects that run on their Blockchain-As-A-Service (BaaS) platform.  Many of these projects are based on Ethereum to provide the core of the project.  

A recent article in New Scientist discussed a project that allowed solar panels to generate electricity, record it in the Ethereum blockchain, and then resell it to others on the grid.  By making the blockchain the marketplace, those generating the electricity can decide who they sell it to, the amount to sell it for, or if they wanted to split their generated energy into ratios of sold versus donated.  The power (no pun intended) is in the hands of those generating the electricity, and not a centralized power utility company.  

Project like these are just the tip of the iceberg.  With the stable release of Homestead, more companies, developers and thinkers are going to be drawn to the platform.  

No one could have foretold what the Internet was going to be when that first web page went live in 1993.  Likewise no one can guess what Ethereum and other blockchain based projects will be dreamed up in the coming months as a stable development continues.

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