Ethereum Difficulty Bomb a.k.a the “Ice Age”, refers to a mechanism that increases the difficulty level of puzzles in the Proof-of-Work mining algorithm. This increases block production time and makes it difficult for miners to continue mining.
- Upgrade announcement
- What is Difficulty Bomb?
- What is Gray Glacier and Why named it "Gray Glacier"?
- What does EIP-5133 propose?
- Why do we need this upgrade before TheMerge?
Ethereum Network Upgrade announcement
Ethereum core developers discussed the delay of the difficulty bomb to help #TestingTheMerge team progressing towards TheMerge upgrade without any difficulties. As discussed at the last ACD meeting, client developers seem to agree to push the difficulty bomb for another 2-2.5 months, and the next Ethereum Network Upgrade will be deployed on June 29, 2022.
It will be activated on block number 15050000 and Fork Hash
0xf0afd0e3 as listed on Gray Glacier Network Upgrade Specification
Ethereum Arrow Glacier was the last network upgrade deployed in Dec 2021 to push the difficulty bomb till summer 2022.
What is Difficulty Bomb?
Ethereum is a blockchain network that currently utilizes Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus process that relies on the faster computation of arithmetic puzzles, involving heavy energy consumption using GPUs. Ethereum promotes scalability and technological advancement but the concentration of energy into massive mining farms goes against the blockchain's founding ideals.
Ethereum’s “Difficulty Bomb” refers to the sudden increase in mining difficulty on the Ethereum Proof-of-Work chain. It increases the block production time, slows down the network, and eventually reaches to a condition of blockchain freezing. The "Ice Age" is another name for the "Difficulty Bomb."
What is Gray Glacier and Why named it "Gray Glacier"?
Gray Glacier name was chosen since it merges with another glacier, just like Ethereum's execution layer will merge with the Beacon Chain in the near future. The Difficulty Bomb's parameters are changed by the Gray Glacier network upgrade, which pushes it back 700,000 blocks, or about 100 days. Gray Glacier does not include any further modifications, and it will not be released on any testnet.
What does EIP-5133 propose?
Based on the current proposal (EIP-5133), by late August the block time will be back to where they are today that is (~14s, 1s delay).
Generally, the bomb’s impact goes up rapidly every 100,000 blocks. The EIP proposes to delay it further 700,000 blocks which means they are delaying the middle of September 2022. and the team has also confirmed that this upgrade won’t slow down on The Merge, the most awaited network upgrade on the blockchain.
In addition, Ethereum client team also said that they are not willing to rush with the code that is not ready to be shipped as it might create an issue with the network.
Why do we need this upgrade before TheMerge?
The Difficulty Bomb came into existence so that when Proof-of-Stake is launched, it can act as a barrier for miners who would not be willing to upgrade and continue mining Ethereum 1.0 chain (Proof-of-Work). By introducing a difficulty bomb, Ethereum developers wanted to ensure that node operators of the Ethereum 1.0 chain are forced to upgrade the network via a hard fork so that the network does not become inactive in terms of innovation.
Ethereum blockchain is expecting one of the biggest upgrades "The Merge" which is currently in testing phase. In order to keep developers focused on the testing and do not get distracted due to the increased difficulty on the mainnet, it is decided to push the bomb for additional few months.
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