Ethereum Muir Glacier Upgrade- The “Temporary” Panacea to Address Difficulty Bomb 

Ethereum Muir Glacier Upgrade- The "Temporary" Panacea to Address Difficuilty Bomb 

  • Term “difficulty bomb” had been coined several times for highlighting the retargeting mechanism into Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work algorithm.
  • The difficulty bomb goes ahead step by step with a plodding pace and slowly increasing with an exponential curve.
  • EIP 2384 is the only improvement proposed by Muir Glacier, and this feature will be able to delay the difficulty bomb for about 611 days for another 4,000,000 blocks.

Term “difficulty bomb” had been coined several times for highlighting the retargeting mechanism into Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work algorithm. The main job this mechanism revolves around is maintaining an average block time achieved by manipulating the mining difficulty used for a new block mining.

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It increments the problem following too short or long block time. More precisely, the short time can be less than 10 seconds while more than 20 seconds can be a long time. To raise the difficulty level, the difficulty bomb goes ahead step by step with a plodding pace and slowly increasing with an exponential curve.

Thus with every block, the level of difficulty keeps accelerating. Initially, the amount is too small to be noticed on block times, but with a slow increment for a long time, it eventually reaches a level where the curve keeps moves. Thus this trend of slow progress followed by an out of the blue freeze gives it another name called Ice Age. 

The difficulty level revolution around the difficulty bomb, if it becomes enormous for the retargeting mechanism, boosts up the network block times. When it happens, it starts degrading Ethereum’s usability as the period for every transaction and Dapps increases and thus, this longer time taken by the network accounts for deterioration in the value. 

One of the latest upgrades in the Ethereum blockchain is the Muir Glacier which would be ready to use from  January 2020 at block#9,200,000. 

EIP 2384 is the only improvement proposed by Muir Glacier, and this feature will be able to delay the difficulty bomb for about 611 days for another 4,000,000 blocks. The debate about changing or removing the difficulty bomb came forward with a mutual consensus with this simple change for some time, and the Ice Age’s permanent solution will work soon. 

The bursting timing about the difficulty bomb is yet uncertain and difficult to predict though the estimations pointed out to mid-2020. The evaluation made while Istanbul was planned, needless to say, the calculation went wrong. 

October 5, 2019, noticed the difficulty bomb at block 8,600,000 and this also marked an increase in the average block time, which is presently standing at 14.3 seconds since block 8,900,000. 

EIP 2384 mentions 

“The average block time will start to accelerate exponentially every 100,000 blocks.”

Annotation 2019-12-18 173247
Source: Coinnewstelegraph

Thus “for now” the panacea for Ice Age is the Muir Glacier which will delay its time, but the same will not be able to address the issue for a very long time.

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Steve Anderrsonhttp://www.thecoinrepublic.com
Steve Anderson is an Australian crypto enthusiast. He is a specialist in management and trading for over 5 years. Steve has worked as a crypto trader, he loves learning about decentralisation, understanding the true potential of the blockchain.

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