Ethereum developers propose to postpone difficulty bomb until May 2022

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Ethereum’s difficulty bomb is expected to usher in a new era for the digital asset. Ethereum developers Tim Beiko and James Hancock released a proposal for EIP-4345, about delaying the Ethereum Difficulty bomb until May 2022.

As per the developers’ proposal, Ethereum is expected to complete the Shanghai upgrade and/or the Merge by May 2022, so the difficulty bomb can be deferred beyond that date.

However, the developers were still questioned on “why not merging and canceling the Ice Age all together” to which Tim Beiko replied,

“Ideally, we never ‘reach’ this difficulty bomb because we’ve merged before. But, if we haven’t, I think it’s better to have to push it back again.”

Although there were alternatives such as:

1] removing the bomb altogether
2] pushing the bomb *way* back

Beiko noted that they were not convinced to remove the bomb altogether as it would make it easier for the proof-of-work chain to continue functioning and to launch scam forks. Thus, the team chose the latter alternative of pushing the bomb back, which “is sort of equivalent to removing it in this context.”

Congestion and high transaction fees were not new to Ethereum, and thus the team had to intervene four times, and now or the fifth time they have proposed to diffuse and delay the bomb. Why?

Because the difficulty bomb schedules a network slowdown when its deadline is missed. Thus, when the developers had to deploy EIP-649, EIP-1234, EIP-2387, and the last EIP-3554, to keep the block time in check. Given the state of the Ethereum network today, “having even 0.1 sec more delay between blocks would greatly impact the user experience (transaction fees likely going to the roof),” noted Jerome de Tychey, co-founder and president of Ethereum France.

Meanwhile, the developers have been testing the merge as hacknets were up and running for the last two days. The clients have been participating to test the interoperability and eventually announced,

The EIP will not affect the security but could affect the usability of the network.