• Ethereum Muir Glacier Hard Fork to activate on New Year’s Day and will delay difficulty bomb by 4 million blocks

Even though the Ethereum Istanbul hard fork occurred within the past month, another hard fork called Muir Glacier is coming on New Year’s Day, according to the Ethereum developers. This hard fork will activate at block 9.2 million, and will delay the difficulty bomb by 4 million blocks, a period of approximately two years.

This is an emergency fork to prevent the Ethereum network from slowing to a crawl. The difficulty bomb was expected to begin going off in mid-2020, but instead began to activate a couple of months ago. This is because the difficulty bomb has become unpredictable. The two-year delay will give developers time to either fix the difficulty bomb or to delete it from Ethereum’s code.

It is fortunate that the Muir Glacier hard fork is coming in only a week, since Ethereum block times have already increased from 13 seconds to 17 seconds, and would continue to increase in an exponential fashion every two weeks if the fork did not happen. Thus, without the fork Ethereum mining revenues would dwindle towards zero and transaction fees would skyrocket. Instead, the fork will result in two years of stability on the Ethereum network.

 

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