The Ethereum Foundation has revealed that the recent Berlin hard fork also solved a long-term and ‘present danger’ that made the platform vulnerable to attacks.
In a blog post, the foundation noted that the problem discovered in October 2019 exposed the ethereum network to possible attacks while claiming the flaw was well known with the community.
The foundation said the vulnerability emerged to be much bigger when malicious transactions resulted in block times within a minute range. Furthermore, developers expressed concerns with the existing contract-flows break while users and miners disagreed with the raised block gas limits.
“We realised that we would have to do a two-pronged approach to handle these problems. One approach would be to work on the Ethereum protocol, and somehow solve this problem at the protocol layer; preferably without breaking contracts, and preferably without penalizing ‘good’ behaviour, yet still managing to prevent attacks. The second approach would be through software engineering, by changing the data models and structures within the clients,” read the blog post.
Foundation’s explanation on the timing of revelation
On the timing of disclosing the flaw, the foundation says it is due to promoting transparency within the community. The foundation added that the community should understand the motivation behind upgrades that negatively affect user experience, like rising gas costs.
The Berlin hard fork upgrade incorporated four Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) that tinker with gas prices and allow new transaction types. The upgrade is the foundation for the bigger London hard fork that seeks to activate EIP 1559, bringing Ethereum’s fee structure changes.
Following the centralization concerns, there was the rescheduling of the Berlin hard fork from mid-last 2020. The London hard fork set for July will incorporate EIP-1559, a proposal that aims to lower ether supply.
The recent and upcoming upgrades on the ethereum network have contributed immensely to the digital asset’s recent rally that culminated in an all-time high price of $4,300 on May 12, 2021.