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Crypto education: What the Heck is 'Difficulty Bomb Adjustment' in Ethereum?


By now, we assume you are aware of the basic formation of Ethereum. One, it is a smart contracting platform. Second, the primary chain is secured by a community of decentralized miners.

Critics always blame these miners for prioritizing their bottom lines at the expense of the whole. That is, miners would instead reap more and damage the ecosystem's user experience. 

As a decentralized incentivizing network Ethereum is, this was bound to happen. So, how are developers working on taming Ethereum miners' supposed greed?

One of them is through EIP-1559 which would go live in roughly two days during the London Upgrade. 

The other is by making mining and block generation more difficult. You may ask, how is this counter-productive? Indeed, it is, but difficulty bomb adjustment is more of a protective mechanism in Ethereum than a disincentivizing game. 

This measure safeguards the network against rogue Ethereum miners or external attacks seeking to fork the primary chain for their gains. 

To counter this threat, the Ethereum network was theoretically supposed to gradually increase the mining difficulty levels in a period termed the 'Ice Age.' During this time, it would be harder to mine and therefore unprofitable for miners to commit resources. 

The 'Ice Age' would coincide with the shift to Proof-of-Stake and is the last nail on the coffin for miners who would want to anyhow continue mining despite the migration.

The Difficulty Bomb Adjustment, under EIP 3554, will be postponed once more for possible activation in December 2021.


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