The Ethereum difficulty bomb will usher in a new era for ETH, but when is the detonation date?
Here’s when to expect the Ethereum difficulty bomb to happen.
Ethereum Difficulty Bomb Date
The Ethereum difficulty bomb is expected to rollout in the first week of December 2021.
Despite the December release date, it will take several months for the difficulty increase to impact block times significantly.
Prior to the full London Hard Fork, the upgrade was set to include EIP-3238. This would delay the difficulty bomb to Q2 2022.
However, in May 2021, Ethereum opted to implement EIP-3554 instead, as confirmed by developer Tim Beiko. This pushed the difficulty bomb delay forward to December to coincide with the implementation of Ethereum staking.
Ethereum Difficulty Bomb Meaning
The Ethereum difficulty bomb will increase the difficulty level of Ethereum mining, making this proof-of-work venture less profitable for cryptocurrency miners.
Gradually, the difficulty increase will push ETH’s block time to a point whereby mining is no longer viable for miners seeking a profit.
ETH’s current block time is around 13 seconds. According to Tim Beiko, Ethereum’s block time could rise by 487% five months after the difficulty bomb, adding 64 seconds.
This will lead to the Ethereum ‘Ice Age’. Here, the Ethereum blockchain would freeze, and grind to a halt as further miners depart from the now-unprofitable network.
Why Release the Ethereum Difficulty Bomb?
On the surface, seeing Ethereum freeze up does not seem like something the network would voluntarily do.
However, it does have its benefits.
The first, and most vital benefit is that the difficulty bomb encourages miners to depart from proof-of-work towards Ethereum’s new proof-of-stake system.
Ethereum 2.0 will see the shift to staking – a decision criticised by miners who will see their profits slashed. This difficulty bomb should deter miners from attempting to continue their efforts after Eth2’s introduction.
Aside from this benefit, Ethereum provider Nethermind said the difficulty bomb would also act as a “defense against attackers that fork Ethereum.”
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