Just a few months ago, Ethereum (ETH) developers were asking users to update their nodes. These are the devices that run the network software and store the ledger of transactions.
The Difficulty Bomb
The developers are back at work. This time they are delaying the “difficulty bomb”. This is a periodic task that will become obsolete after Ethereum 2.0 is fully online and the network transitions to a proof-of-stake consensus model. This era is putting an end to crypto mining.
Unlike the London Hard Fork, which changed the Ethereum fee structure and introduced deflationary pressures on the network, the Arrow Glacier upgrade isn’t nearly as drastic. This upgrade is scheduled for later this week.
Arrow Glacier’s sole purpose is to prevent a bomb from exploding. In addition, it gives developers more time to move the network to Ethereum 2.0. Without it, the current network could become less useful.
That bomb has been ticking since 2015. Back then, developers started creating the Ethereum network. The creators of the network hoped to bypass Bitcoin’s consensus mechanism, proof of work, which incentivizes people to contribute computing power to run and secure the network by giving them newly minted coins.
Proof-of-Work and computing power
Proof-of-Work (PoW) is fueling a race for ever more computing power. However, this in turn is not so good for the environment. That is why the network has switched to Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Here, coin holders can lock their ETH in the network to secure the blockchain. In return, they receive newly minted ETH.
Knowing early on that they wanted to keep Ethereum away from proof-of-work, developers coded an incentive into the blockchain to prevent this. That code, known as the difficulty bomb, is said to make it harder for people to mine ETH.
The London hard fork in August postponed the detonation until December. There is hope that upgrades like these will soon be obsolete. Tim Beiko, who coordinates the network’s core developers, wrote last week:
“Hopefully this is the last time the difficulty bomb is delayed before the transition from Ethereum to Proof-of-Stake!”