Ethereum’s core developers have announced that the ‘difficulty bomb,’ which is a crucial component of The Merge, has been postponed by two months.
What Is The Difficulty Bomb?
The decision for the two-month-long delay was taken by the core development team on Friday. The ‘difficulty bomb’ is a crucial element in the long-anticipated Merge, which will switch the Ethereum Network from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
The developers had planted this ‘difficulty bomb’ in Ethereum’s code back in 2015 to force validators to accept the merge. The code works by rapidly amping up the difficulty levels of mining the token, eventually making it impossible to do so. This forces the validators to switch to the proof-of-stake system, which is 99% more power-efficient than the current PoW system.
Ropsten Testnet Reveals Bugs
This is not the first time the difficulty bomb has been delayed. It has already been postponed five times before. Last week, The Merge went live on the Ropsten testnet and revealed a number of bugs. This prompted the developers to delay the difficulty bomb to August 2022 in order to iron out these bugs. Announcing the decision on Twitter, lead developer Tim Beiko tweeted,
“In short, we agreed to the bomb delay. We were already over time, and want to be sure that we sanity check all the numbers before selecting an exact delay and deployment time, but we are aiming for a ~2 month delay, and for the upgrade to go live late June.”
The Merge Delayed Or Not?
The Ethereum Merge has been a long-time coming and has already been waylaid multiple times by delays. However, even though the developers have not confirmed a final date, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and core developer Preston Van Loon have previously indicated an August deadline for The Merge. As of now, the developers are hoping that pushing back the difficulty bomb will not delay The Merge any further.
Another core developer Ben Edgington has said,
“So, we will push back the Ethereum difficulty bomb. We say it won't delay the Merge. I sincerely hope not. The new EIP-5133 proposal still says the target is for The Merge to occur before mid August 2022.”
However, in light of the recent announcement from the core developers, the community is looking back at Buterin’s comments from the ETH Shanghai Web 3.0 Developer Summit held in May, where he touched on the possibility of The Merge being delayed.
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