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Ethereum Classic Defuses “Difficulty Bomb” in Hard Fork

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:08 PM
Conor Maloney
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:08 PM

Ethereum Classic has announced the success of defusing the “difficulty bomb” that was found in the network code which was set to render mining unprofitable.

Ethereum Classic forked from Ethereum in 2016 over a disagreement surrounding the loss of funds following the hack which compromised the DAO, a smart-contract funding project. Most of the community and original developers opted to fork the chain in order to reverse the transaction and return the lost funds to Ethereum users, but others felt that the blockchain should never be altered, causing a rift and ultimately splitting the project into the two versions we have today.

Ethereum is currently in the early stages of transitioning to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, which does not require mining, and implemented a feature designed to increase the difficulty of mining and receiving awards to incentivize developers to move from to PoS. Arguing that PoW is the most decentralized means of achieving consensus over block validation, Ethereum Classic developers currently have no plans to do that, and as such devised a new update ECIP-1041 which they scheduled to take place via a hard fork on block 5,900,000.

The fork has now been implemented , making it easier for miners to reap the rewards of validating transactions on the network.

All nodes are required to update in order to continue participating in the new version of Ethereum Classic, as other nodes running the old version will be unable to trade the currency they receive as rewards. Developers say that most of the nodes upgraded before the fork took place. The fork has been in the pipeline since 2016, and was not particularly controversial – no significant change in market cap or currency value has taken place as of yet.

The latest safe block to implement ECIP-1041 would have been block 6,100,000, and the fork seems to have been implemented smoothly and without complications.

Update 5/30: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Ethereum has already moved to a Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm.

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