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In news today, we see Ethereum being affected by the “difficulty bomb” embedded in the code, with the hard fork this month expected to again push its effect further into the future. This difficulty bomb was originally intended to create an incentive for miners and developers to manage the transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. The difficulty bomb referenced back in 2015 by former CCO Stephan Tuai, raises the level of difficulty of mining a block on the ethereum blockchain exponentially over time.
The effect of this difficulty bomb started to go off in December after previous attempts to delay two times, once in June 2017 and again in October 2017. As Etherscan reported, the ethereum blockchain saw its lowest level of daily block reward, down around 30%. Etherscan also reports a substantial decline since December in the number of blocks produced per day, which is currently below 4500 blocks.
As stated by Afri Schoedon, release manager for ethereum client Parity, estimates that in 2 or 3 months from now, would stall the ethereum blockchain to new record lows. This is expected to bring about a delay again of 12 months as part of the fork and system-wide upgrade known as Constantinople. This will stabalize average block count to 5700 blocks daily and reduce the time creation to roughly 15 seconds according to Afri.
Schoedon expressed exasperation at the need to deal with the reoccurring effects of the bomb at all. This is not the first time ethereum core developers have had to include such tweaks to the difficulty time bomb.
“The bomb is an annoyance that no longer serves a purpose”
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