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Ethereum Developers Strike Deal to Delay Difficulty Bomb, Reduce Block Reward by 33%

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:36 PM
Jimmy Aki
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:36 PM

A proposal that is expected to change how much ether enters the cryptocurrency economy was finalized on Friday, Aug. 31, as developers agreed to include the code for such a change into Ethereum’s next hard fork, Constantinople.

Constantinople is designed to increase efficiency and lower transaction fees on the blockchain. It’s a protocol upgrade that seeks to smooth the transition from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).

According to a GitHub post  merging the changes, a group of 14 ethereum developers, present on a video call , agreed to implement the EIP-1234 — an updated version of Ethereum’s improvement upgrade designed to, among other things, reduce the amount of new ether produced to 2 ETH per block w from the current 3 ETH per block.

The summary of the post states:

“This EIP proposes to delay the difficulty bomb for approximately one and a half year and to reduce the block rewards with the Constantinople fork, the second part of the Metropolis fork.”

The developers present at the meeting also agreed that the difficulty bomb should be delayed for a 12-month period. Another hard fork will be released eight months from the Constantinople upgrade , developers agreed.

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The Ethereum “Difficulty Bomb” refers to the time-correlated (rather than hashpower-correlated) increase in difficulty of the level of puzzles that a miner has to go through before being rewarded with ether on the blockchain. As these puzzles become more complicated for miners to break down, they will consequently find it hard to earn ether, which will cause a substantial lag in the production of blocks on the blockchain.

The move for the reduction of new cryptocurrency introduced on Ethereum to 2 ETH per block is a conservative choice that resulted from the difference in opinion concerning issuance change.

Speaking at the meeting, Danny Ryan, a Casper developer for the Ethereum Foundation, said the “issuance discussion” should be seen as an “incremental compromise” which will ensure things move smoothly until the community transitions to the proof-of-stake consensus.

“Everything I view in the issuance discussion is an incremental compromise to encourage the community and move things sanely until we move to proof-of-stake, which will bring issuance down to the range of 0.5 or 1 percent per year, and at that point, I think the community will certainly be happy. These are incremental compromises until we get to that goal,” Ryan said in the meeting, according to CoinDesk ‘s summary of the call.

The developers, however, couldn’t reach an agreement on the algorithm change that would restrict the use of ASIC hardware for mining ether, but a large majority believes it should be the focus of research.

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