Ethereum Mining Difficulty Delayed Again Ahead of Big Transition

Ethereum developers have agreed to delay the “difficulty bomb,” a big transition leading up to the “Merge.”

After testing the Merge, ETH developer, Danny Ryan revealed finding two minor bugs affecting some stakers. Additionally, 9% of validators also have issues with configuration.

New EIP-5133 Proposal

Lead developer Tim Beiko revealed that a proposal EIP-5133, advocating the delay, was drafted by Tomasz K. Stańczak and tweeted,

“In short, we agreed to the bomb delay. We were already over time, and want to be sure that we sanity check all the numbers before selecting an exact delay and deployment time, but we are aiming for a ~2-month delay, and for the upgrade to go live in late June.”

Beiko also said that restarting the difficulty bomb could give the developers some respite and prevent burnout as a result of too much pressure. This isn’t the first time the difficulty bomb has been delayed.

Thomas Jay Rush, a participant in the call last Friday, noted that delaying gives the devs more time while they iron out different bugs detected when they ran the software for the Merge on Ropsten. Concerns of a potential delay in the mainnet Merge have also come up even as the developers remained confident that the latest pushback in the difficulty bomb would not hinder the timeline anymore.

So far, no one has officially set a particular date for the Merge, but co-founder Vitalik Buterin had earlier said that it could happen as soon as August if everything goes according to the plan. The new EIP-5133 proposal also suggested that the Merge would occur before mid-August 2022.

Difficulty Bomb

The code for the difficulty bomb was first introduced to the network in 2015. The idea is straightforward – to incentivize miners to accept the “Merge” and subsequently drive the adoption of the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) chain.

Once the difficulty bomb goes off, it would dramatically increase the difficulty level of puzzles required for mining the underlying token. This would render PoW mining impossible by disincentivizing such activity and, in turn, incentivizing miners to accept the Merge.

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