The hard fork was scheduled to occur during the early hours of Thursday, January 2nd, 2020. The most popular clients among the node operators are Geth and Parity Ethereum.
Ethereum’s new hard fork, Muir Glacier, already had 64% of its nodes updated, according to the real-time monitoring that was conducted by ethernodes.org. The hard fork was scheduled to take place during the early hours of Thursday, January 2nd, at the height of block 9,200,000.
The developers announced the hard fork to implement Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 2387, which aims to delay the difficulty bomb. The activation comes less than a month after the network adjusted its activity to the Istanbul hard fork, which led to six code changes and did not contemplate this adjustment as the programmers’ estimates were wrong.
Hudson Jameson, a lead developer of the Ethereum Foundation, stated that the nodes had to be updated by December 30th and that the scheduled time for the hard fork could vary according to time zones and block variations.
At the time of writing this article, according to data from ethernodes.org, about 35.6% of the nodes remained to update their clients, a figure that gradually reduced as the date of the hard fork approached. The most used clients by the node operators are Geth, Parity Ethereum, Nethermind, Multigeth, Teth, and Aleth.
The first proposal for the upgrade was EIP 2384, which was initially created on November 20th by Eric Conner but then finalized by James Hancock with EIP 2387 two days later. The fact that it runs so close to the previous hard fork suggests that the Muir Glacier update occurred on an emergency basis.
The difficulty of bomb delay is a mechanism within Ethereum’s Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm for a refocus of mining difficulty. In other words, it is an element within the system that ensures a constant block time as it controls the difficulty with which mining is conducted under this scheme.
On this occasion, the difficulty bomb will be delayed by another four million blocks, equivalent to 611 days or 1.67 years. When the times of the blocks are too short or too long (less than 10 seconds or more than 20 seconds, respectively), the mechanism adjusts the difficulty. It should be noted that this also increases the value of every 100,000 blocks.
The Muir Glacier hard fork occurred since the developers calculated, while planning the Istanbul hard fork, that the difficulty bomb would be unnoticed until mid-2020. This began to be predicted in October of last year at the height of the 8,600,000 block, which has led to a total of three delays of the difficulty bomb.
The decisions of Ethereum’s programmers revolve around an extensive process of transition of the network aiming to migrate from a PoW scheme, which is currently used, to a Proof of Participation (PoS) consensus, something to which its co-founder Vitalik Buterin has constantly referred and that is known within the ecosystem as Ethereum 2.0.
By Willmen Blanco