The planned Berlin hard fork upgrade for the Ethereum blockchain is expected to go live at around 7:40 UTC on April 15, 2021. Although the exact time for the upgrade is subject to change due to varying block times, Berlin will be implemented at block 12244000.
As of press time, a countdown clock for the hard fork estimates roughly 9 days.
As reported by BTC PEERS, Ethereum devs unofficially announced the Berlin hard fork on March 5. The upgrade was initially scheduled to launch in June 2020. However, due to concerns over client diversity on the part of Ethereum, the timeline was extended. Along with the extended timeline, the accepted Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) for the said upgrade has also changed several times. But there seems to be a consensus on four EIPs that will be included in the Berlin upgrade – 2718, 2929, 2565, and 2930.
EIP-2718 deploys a new transaction type that is supposed to be a “wrapper for future transaction types.” Essentially, this improvement will make it easier to add new transaction types to Ethereum.
EIP-2929 will increase the gas cost for state opcodes. On the flip side, EIP-2565 aims to lower the gas cost of the modular exponentiation precompile function. Finally, EIP-2930 introduces a new transaction type to mitigate the risks of contract breakage posed by EIP-2929.
Overall, Berlin is part of a series of non-backward compatible hard forks as the project journeys toward Serenity.