The developers want to give customers time before they release some necessary upgrades to support the Bellatrix fork. That change on the network will allow monitoring of the activation of the difficulty bomb in Ethereum 2.0.

There could be another postponement of the difficulty bomb or increase in the mining difficulty on Ethereum to the maximum. The scheduled date was July 1st, but the developers agree it is better to defer it between 2 and 4 months. They want to allow all the actors on the network to prepare for the merge with Ethereum 2.0.

However, there must be an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) for developers, validator nodes and miners to approve. The proposed deferral ranges from 2 to 4 months, but developer Tim Beiko reported a slight preference for the shorter period.

The network can be ready for the difficulty bomb if the developers activate the Bellatrix hard fork in the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain. That upgrade will monitor the activation of that maximum difficulty to start the Proof of Stake protocol.

The developers proposed to defer the difficulty bomb to give customers time before releasing their upgrades to support the Bellatrix fork. Beiko explained that they would be able to determine a specific value for the difficulty bomb after completing that part of the process.

Another condition they have already met before Bellatrix is that the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain exists and is active. It has been working since December 2020 and has already exceeded 300,000 active validators.

The Developers Have Postponed the Difficulty Bomb Before

In early May, the Ethereum developers stated that they would activate the difficulty bomb in late June. However, that does not mean that its deferral is an unprecedented decision.

In December, they introduced the Arrow Glacier upgrade to discontinue the difficulty bomb. Previously, in January 2020, they had released Miur Glacier, another improvement with the same objective.

The developers seek to activate the difficulty bomb to discourage mining on that network. The difficulty of mining a block will gradually increase until it is practically impossible.

The Ropsten Testnet Warns Developers about the Need to Activate Bellatrix

Over the last few days, an issue with the Ropsten testnet caused it to stop working. A sudden rise in the hash rate activated the difficulty bomb too soon. The testnet froze for almost an hour as there was no active Beacon Chain or Bellatrix upgrade.

One of the reasons preventing that situation from happening on the Ethereum 2.0 mainnet was that the Beacon Chain of that network already exists. In addition, raising the hash rate until activating the difficulty bomb would require investing much money with low chances of succeeding.

Ether (ETH) is trading at around USD 2,000 and has accumulated a 10.1% gain over the last 24 hours. While its daily trading volume is above USD 18.30 billion, its market capitalization is about USD 604, 57 billion, according to CoinGecko.

By Alexander Salazar


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