Ethereum Classic’s block 13,189,133, slated for July 21, will introduce the Magneto upgrade, a hard fork which will optimize gas and transactions. This will have implied security enhancements for the network.
Magneto, the codename for ECIP-1103, allows the addition of all the protocol upgrades part of the earlier Berlin update from April. ETC consumers will need to upgrade their node software to a version compatible with Magneto.
A hard fork is a radical change to a network’s protocol that changes the validity of certain transactions. It effectively results in two branches, one that follows the previous protocol and one that follows the new version. Most of Ethereum Classic’s community is expected to switch to the new version.
Milestones in Ethereum Classic’s history are marked by hard forks — in the most famous case, not going along with one. Ethereum’s history went down two separate paths when the developers’ decision to revert a $50 million theft via a hard fork led to a sizable (but proportionally small) number of people staying on the original blockchain instead of switching to the new one. The ones who stayed on Ethereum Classic generally believed the blockchain was meant to be immutable and free from manipulation by any individual or a group, and were afraid of the implications of opening the door to further hard forks down the line.
Because of the differences in ideology between the divided factions of the former unified community, the development of ETH and ETC has gone in separate directions, with the former transitioning to a proof-of-stake consensus model while the latter is sticking to their proof-of work-roots. Classic began the process of switching to proof-of-stake protocols, but abandoned it in 2018.
In the years since the split, ETC has been embattled by security concerns and unfavorable comparisons to ETH, the far more popular and developed of the two Ethereum networks. Despite this, the legacy version of the cryptocurrency has returned 900% year-to-date.