A few months ago, Ethereum Developers requested all users to update their nodes–the devices that run the software and store their ledger of transactions.
This time, their focus is on delaying the “difficulty bomb”, a periodic task that should seemingly become obsolete once Ethereum 2.0 goes live, as the network seeks to transition to a proof-of-stake consensus model effectively doing away with crypto mining.
The Arrow Glacier update, which is slated for this week, is nowhere near as drastic as the London hard fork, which saw the Ethereum fee structure change and also introduced deflationary pressure to the network, as well. The update isn’t as drastic as the Altair upgrade either, which prepared the beacon chain for prime time. The beacon chain was the starting point to Ethereum’s shift to proof of stake.
Arrow Glacier’s objective is to give the developers enough time to move the network to Ethereum 2.0. This is crucial considering the network could stand to become unstable without it. It also seeks to delay the difficulty bomb as much as possible, giving developers time to finish their work.
The bomb has been an issue since 2015, when the developers started their work on creating the Ethereum network. Its creators were seeking to move past the Bitcoin consensus mechanism, proof of work, which then gives people incentive to contribute computing power to not only run but secure the network. This is done by giving them minted coins.
The network wanted to move away from proof of work as it creates in all essence, an arms-race for ever-more computing power that isn’t particularly great for the environment, and instead transition to proof of stake as a result. Under proof of stake, coin holders can secure the blockchain by locking up their ETH in the network. In return, said users will receive newly minted ETH proportionate to their contribution, despite not having the latest in hardware.
The difficulty bomb was the developers code hardcoded into the blockchain as the transition was their plan all along. Though the London Hard fork may have delayed their plan until December like their previous upgrades, they’re back to delay it once more, so they may achieve their objective.
With any hope, upgrades like these might become unnecessary very soon. Tim Beiko, who servers as a coordinator to the network’s core developers, wrote “Hopefully, this is the last time the difficulty bomb is delayed before Ethereum’s transition is proof of stake!”