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There seems to be an expectation that the launch of homestead will increase the value of ether and improve the network somehow? What changes are coming?

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The Ethereum project originally laid out a timeline of milestones representative of different states of the ecosystem. In brief, they are:

  • Frontier, a "wild west" stage with emphasized user caution
  • Homestead, a more stable network which is no longer considered "beta"
  • Metropolis, representing a diverse ecosystem of user-friendly software including Mist the DApp browser and tools like Mix the IDE
  • Serenity, the transition to significant protocol and scalability upgrades to be "industry-ready"

Although these were the initial expectations laid out, as Frontier approached, need for additional safeguards such as checkpointing were not as necessary. For this reason, much of the functionality of Homestead was already present in Frontier, however there are still a few changes that are pending:

  • EIP-7: New EVM opcode DELEGATECALL
  • EIP-2: Consensus rules changes:
    1. The gas cost for creating contracts via a transaction is increased from 21000 to 53000
    2. All transaction signatures whose s-value is greater than secp256k1n/2 are now considered invalid
    3. OOG CREATE calls when there's insufficient gas for storing the code (as opposed to silently ignoring the code storage);
    4. Difficulty adjust algorithm has changed to block_diff = parent_diff + parent_diff // 2048 * max(1 - (block_timestamp - parent_timestamp) // 10, -99) + int(2**((block.number // 100000) - 2))

Most importantly, the network has been live for 6 months and although some consensus-affecting bugs were found during Frontier, the occurrences have reduced over time and none have been uncovered for several months.

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Notes on the above-mentioned attributes:

  • increase value of ether: this would be just speculation
  • improve network somehow: experimental network (frontier) will effectively have been under observation long enough to be declared "stable" and no longer "potentially unsafe"
  • changes: see homestead release documentation

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