Ethereum Core Devs Delay Crucial “Difficulty Bomb” For Two Months


Ethereum core developers met on Friday and decided to delay handling the “difficulty bomb”, a crucial catalyst in the long-awaited Ethereum project “Mergewhich will migrate the network from a proof-of-work consensus to proof of stake.

The difficulty bomb was planted in Ethereum’s code in 2015 as a measure to force validators to accept the merge. An implementation of fusion called uploaded to the Ropsten testnet earlier last week.

Following the testnet merge and after discussing a number of bugs revealed by the test merge, the developers’ proposal EIP-5133 to delay the hard bomb to August 2022. It has already been delayed five times.

In short, we accepted the delay of the bomb,tweeted lead developer Tim Beiko after Friday’s call. “We are aiming for a lead time of around 2 months and the upgrade towards the end of June.

Although Ethereum developers have not firmly committed to a date for the Ethereum merger, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and lead developer Preston Van Loon said in August…”if everything goes as plannedVan Loon said at a conference last month.

So, we are going to push back the Ethereum difficulty bomb,” tweeted Ben Edgington, another lead developer, after Friday’s call. “We say it will not delay the merger. I sincerely hope not.

The new EIP-5133 proposal still states that the goal is for the merger to occur “before mid-August 2022.”

Decrypt has contacted Beiko for further comment on the Difficulty Bomb.

What is the bomb difficulty?

Ethereum, the largest smart contract platform, is migrating from a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus model to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus model which should make the blockchain much more efficient and less energy-intensive.

Ethereum is currently supported by validators (or miners) who use remote computers to solve complex mathematical problems to record and verify transactions, just like on the Bitcoin blockchain. After the merge, validators will instead stake coins to confirm transactions, and there are concerns that some validators will reject proof of stake.

To avoid this scenario, the difficulty bomb increases block difficulty (the time it takes for validators to verify and add a transaction to the blockchain) exponentially over time. Over an extended period, it becomes impossible for validators to mine new transactions due to near-infinite block difficulty, forcing the end of proof-of-work on Ethereum.

On the other hand, the wrongly-timed “difficulty bomb” could halt Ethereum before “The Merge” is complete, leading to disastrous financial results.

Ethereum Price Action

Ethereum (ETH), the #2 cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has fallen double digits over the past day, dropped 19% over the past seven days due to a combination of macro factors (the Tech stocks also fell; CPI showed worse than expected inflation), but Ropsten’s testnet meltdown earlier this week apparently did nothing to help.

ETH is now down 69% from its all-time high of $4,891.70 in November 2021, according to CoinMarketCap.

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