Developers want to give customers time to release certain necessary updates.
One of them is Bellatrix, which monitors the activation of the difficulty bomb in Ethereum 2.0.
The difficulty bomb, i.e. raising the mining difficulty of Ethereum to the maximum, could be postponed again. It was planned for the first of July, but the developers agree that it is better to postpone it for 2 to 4 months, as all the actors in the network prepare for the merger (The Merge) with Ethereum 2.0.
The decision is not yet made, but an Ethereum improvement proposal must be generated (EIP) for approval by developers, validator nodes, and miners. Although the Proposed suspension ranges from 2 to 4 monthsdeveloper Tim Beiko assured on Twitter that there is a “slight preference” for the shorter of these periods.
Why this idea of postponing the difficulty bomb once again? Mainly, to what the developers believe that everything is not yet given to move on to the fusion without problems.
There are several conditions that must be met in Ethereum in order for the network to be ready for the difficulty bomb to be activated. One of them is that the hard fork is activated or hard fork Bellatrix on the Beacon Chain of the consensus layer or Ethereum 2.0. Bellatrix will be in charge of monitoring the activation of this maximum difficultyto start proof of stake at that time.
The main reason why deferring the difficulty bomb is proposed to give clients time to release their updates to support the fork Bellatrix. Once this part of the process is complete, a specific value for the difficulty bomb can be determined, Beiko explained.
Another condition (which is prior to Bellatrix and is already met) is that the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain exists and is active. In other words, it would be your “beacon chain”, the original fragment of the new chain that will be transitioned to with the merge.
The Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain has been active since December 2020. To date, it has grown in such a way that it already exceeds 300,000 active validators.
Ethereum Difficulty Bomb Has Been Postponed Before
In early May, Ethereum developers had assured that the difficulty bomb would take place at the end of June. However, this does not mean that the decision to postpone it is unprecedented.
In December 2021, the Arrow Glacier update was introduced to discontinue the difficulty bomb. Before that, in January 2020, Miur Glacier was another update with the same purpose.
As explained in this CriptoNoticias article on the most important terms in this transition that Ethereum is carrying out, the difficulty bomb is intended to discourage mining in this network through extremely high difficulty.
Ropsten and a warning the developers heard
Just a few days ago, CriptoNoticias reported on an issue with the Ropsten testnet that caused it to be detained. What had happened is that the difficulty bomb was triggered early by a sudden rise in hashrate. Since there was no active Beacon Chain and no Bellatrix activated, the testnet froze for almost an hour.
However, this could not happen on the Ethereum 2.0 mainnet for two reasons. First of all, as mentioned, because the Beacon Chain of this network already exists. On the other hand, raising the hashrate to such an extent as to activate the difficulty bomb would require an investment of a lot of money with low chances of success, explained Tim Beiko.