The “Difficulty Bomb” of Ethereum

“There have been numerous people talking about the Difficulty Bomb that once blows will shut down the doors for the Ethereum miners and mining on the Ethereum blockchain will be impossible. The hype around this revolutionary event makes it worthy of Discussion.”

What is a Difficulty Bomb

Difficulty Bomb is a name given to the gradual or sudden increase in the Ethereum’s mining difficulty. At present Ethereum works on the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism and the mining of ETH is done by solving certain mathematical puzzles that require computational power to be solved. To ensure that the Ethereum network tackles the issue of inflation, the difficulty of mining is increased periodically so that less ethereum is mined in the years to come. But Difficulty Bomb is a different concept and has been introduced recently in Ethereum to increase the mining difficulty suddenly to an extent that mining becomes almost impossible.

Why the Difficulty Bomb was needed?

Ethereum is moving from its Proof-of-Work Consensus mechanism to a more energy efficient and scalable Proof-of-Stake Consensus with its Ethereum 2.0 upgrade, the difficulty bomb was an absolute necessity. At the moment a huge number of miners are mining the ETH and with the proof of stake consensus the mining operations will become obsolete. To ensure that all the miners migrate to the proof of stake mechanism, the mining difficulty of Ethereum will be increased exponentially like detonating a bomb making mining extremely difficult and hence not at all profitable.

How Will It Affect Ethereum?

The following will be the effects of the Difficulty Bomb on Ethereum and its users once the bomb goes off:

Will Bring the ‘Ice-Age’

The detonation of the difficulty bomb will suddenly increase the mining difficulty leading to the so called ‘Ice-age’ where the ethereum blockchain would freeze completely and would be unusable.

Effective Migration to Proof-of-Stake

As the miners will not be able to mine ethereum after the difficulty bomb is detonated, they will have to upgrade their nodes to Eth 2.0 nodes that would support Proof of Stake mechanism and this will ensure effective migration of Eth from PoW to PoS.

Preventing Chain Split

If the Difficulty Bomb is not introduced in the Ethereum 1.0 network, the miners will not upgrade their nodes to ETH 2.0 as they are profiting from the mining at present. This can lead to a fork or split of the ETH blockchain where miners would keep working on ETH 1.0 nodes and Stakers will upgrade to version 2.0. This will lead to two separate chains that would not be compatible with each other and various DApps and projects being built on Ethereum will face huge problems. If the ETH 1.0 becomes unusable due to high difficulty of mining, it will force the miners to upgrade their nodes and ensure that chain does not split or undergo a fork.


Disclaimer: The article is meant for the educational purpose only and in no way it should be considered as financial advice. Own research on the topic is advisable.

Photo by David McBee on Pexel

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