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The Ethereum Team announced recently that the Byzantium fork will happen on October 16. This will be the first phase of the Metropolis upgrade.

What improvements will the Byzantium bring to Smart Contract development?

Anything special that we should be aware of?

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Yes, Byzantium brings some exciting changes that Smart contract developers should be aware of:

  • REVERT - This new call stops execution of a transaction and reverts all state, but, unlike throw it returns all unused gas.
    • In Solidity, the require method now should use REVERT internally meaning, if you require something and it is not met, state will be reverted and gas will be returned instead of throw away.
  • 0x05 - This new pre-compiled contract allows for efficient Big Mod Exponentiation (bigModExp).
    • This allows you to calculate equations like 17**420 % 169 efficiently and is a base for a lot of cryptography, including
  • 0x06 - New pre-compiled contract that allows for Elliptic Curve Point Addition (bn256Add)
  • 0x07 - New pre-compiled contract that allows for Elliptic Curve Scalar Multiplication (bn256ScalarMulti)
  • 0x08 - New pre-compiled contract that allows for Elliptic Curve Pairing (bn256Pairing)

My knowledge on this topic came from this video. I recommend watching it for greater detail and explanation.

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    The 0x05-0x08 are not opcodes, but precompiled contracts. – Tjaden Hess Oct 7 '17 at 19:27

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