Why is Ethereum Classic outperforming the cryptocurrency markets recently? The Agharta hard fork

The price in USD of the cryptocurrency Ethereum Classic (ETC) is almost 50% up since 2 days ago.

Ethereum Classic (ETC) completed a successful hard fork named “Agharta” at block number 9,573,000 on Sunday, January 2020.

The simple summary for this hard fork is to enable the outstanding Ethereum Foundation Constantinople and Petersburg network protocol upgrades on the Ethereum Classic network to create maximum compatibility across these networks.

A more technical explanation for the “Agharta” hard fork, can be found on the Ethereum Classic Improvement Proposals, which include the following:


Add support for a subset of protocol-impacting changes introduced in the Ethereum Foundation (ETH) network via the Constantinople and Petersburg hard forks. The proposed changes for Ethereum Classic’s Agharta upgrade include:

  • Constantinople bitwise shifting instructions
  • Constantinople skinny CREATE2 opcode
  • Constantinople EXTCODEHASH opcode

This document proposes the following blocks at which to implement these changes in the Classic networks:

  • 5_000_381 on Morden Classic Testnet (November 13, 2019)
  • 301_243 on Mordor Classic Testnet (November 20, 2019)
  • 1_705_549 on Kotti Classic Testnet (December 11, 2019)
  • 9_573_000 on Ethereum Classic Mainnet (January 15, 2020)

For more information on the opcodes and their respective EIPs and implementations, please see the Specification section of this document.


To enhance the Ethereum Virtual Machine’s (EVM) capabilities, various opcodes shall integrate into the Ethereum Classic networks, all of which have been in use on the Ethereum Foundation networks since early 2019.


Enable the following three hard fork features:


Atomicity: This protocol specification notably merges the scheduled features of the anticipated Petersburg protocol upgrade, which would remove the buggy proposal SSTORE net-gas metering.

Interoperability: Establishing and maintaining interoperable behavior between Ethereum clients is essential for developers and end-user adoption, yielding benefits for all participating chains (e.g., ETH and ETC, Ropsten and Morden, Görli and Kotti).

Immutability: None of the introduced new opcodes in the EVM has the potential to change the behavior of existing contracts; in the case where previously an arbitrary invalid bytecode would have been deployed to the network, none of them would be able to modify the state of the Ethereum Classic networks retrospectively. Adding opcodes to the EVM increases its functionality and should be considered a feature upgrade rather than a modification.


The adoption of the content of this ECIP requires a hard fork as it introduces changes that are not backward compatible.

The following clients with Ethereum Classic support implement the Constantinople and Petersburg features currently:

  • Geth Classic: full support in v6.1.0 and later
  • Parity Ethereum: all features due to Ethereum Foundation compatibility
  • Multi Geth: all features due to Ethereum Foundation compatibility
  • IOHK Mantis: no support
  • Hyperledger Besu: all features due to Ethereum Foundation compatibility

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