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Ethereum launches Gray Glacier and delays difficulty bomb by 100 days

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Ethereum network received a new update this Thursday (30). The hard fork titled “Gray Glacier” was released at 15,050,000. According to the developers, the hard fork did not crash while running.

However, this hard fork doesn’t have any specific big goals. In fact, the sole purpose of Gray Glacier is to introduce changes to the network difficulty bomb parameters. Launching the fork delayed the difficulty bomb by 700,000 blocks, or about 100 days.

As a result, the bomb deployment deadline was extended to October 8.

New rules and improvements

The Gray Glacier update is a hard fork, that is, it creates new rules to improve the system. As such, it requires nodes and miners to download the latest version of the software.

“If you are using an ETH client that is not up to date, your client will sync the pre-fork blockchain as soon as the update takes place,” said the Ethereum Foundation.

In other words, non-updated clients are stuck in an incompatible chain following the old rules. If they do not update the nodes, these clients will not be able to send, receive or validate transactions on ETH.

However, despite the Foundation’s warning, not all nodes and miners have updated their nodes. According to data from ethernodes at the time of writing, 28% of nodes had not yet updated their software.

The nodes of Geth, Ethereum’s biggest client, only updated 74%, which gives about 1,035 updated nodes. While Openethereum, ranked third, has not updated any of its 100 nodes.

Among the three largest customers, only Erigon, the second largest, updated all of its 164 customers. Finally, Nethermind updated 52 of the 65 nodes, which gives an 80% refresh rate.

What is ETH’s difficulty bomb?

The difficulty bomb, which has been a part of Ethereum since the first day of its launch, is the main detail of the new fork. Its function is to exponentially increase the mining difficulty of Ether (ETH).

As a result, the network will discourage miners from continuing their Proof of Work (PoW) operations. As this happens, increasing difficulty will cause miners to migrate to the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus model.

In other words, the difficulty bomb is the main catalyst for The Merge, the update that changes that consensus. That’s why The Merge will not be implemented until the network activates the difficulty bomb.

Ropsten, ETH’s main testnet, hosted The Merge in early June. According to developers, “if all goes as planned”, the update would arrive on the mainnet by August.

However, The Merge needs the difficulty bomb. As Gray Glacier delayed implementation for another 100 days, the August deadline became unfeasible. Given the schedule, The Merge would not be implemented until October 8th.

But the timeline for EIP-5133 now points to mid-September as a new deadline for implementing The Merge.

Prior to Gray Glacier, ETH went through five other forks: Byzantium, Constantinople, Muir Glacier, London, and the most recent update of Arrow Glacier in December 2021. All of them delayed the launch of the difficulty bomb, the same thing happened with ETH. Gray Glacier.

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All content in this article is for informational purposes only and in no way serves as investment advice. Investing in cryptocurrencies, commodities and stocks is very risky and can lead to capital losses.

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