Today, the Ethereum core team successfully deployed the Gray Glacier hard fork, a network update that adopted Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 5133 at a block height of 15,050,000.
The Gray Glacier hard fork prompted execution layer client software providers, such as Nethermind and Geth, to upgrade their Ethereum nodes. Thursday, Nethermind announced through Twitter that the change was successful.
The update was intended to postpone by 100 days the so-called difficulty bomb, a predetermined increase in the difficulty of Ethereum’s proof-of-work mining process. The difficulty bomb will now trigger about the same time as the networks are tentatively slated to move to proof-of-stake consensus.
The difficulty bomb is a mechanism that facilitates the seamless execution of Ethereum’s merge, the blockchain’s transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake consensus. The method makes it more difficult to mine Ethereum blocks on its proof-of-work layer and discourages miners from forking the chain during Ethereum’s “Ice Age.”
Why is the difficulty bomb delayed?
Previously, Ethereum’s core team had planned the launch of the difficulty bomb for June 29, expecting a merging around this time. Due to a delay in the timeline for the merging, the June difficulty bomb was no longer necessary.
In addition, premature activation of the difficulty bomb would likely have slowed the blockchain unnecessarily. According to statistics from Etherscan, Ethereum block times have already begun to increase, from 13 seconds to 16 seconds. It is anticipated that block times will return to normal levels now that the difficulty bomb has been pushed farther.