Ethereum is set to undergo another upgrade in December, which the developers hope will postpone the difficulty bomb for the final time.
According to Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko, the Arrow Glacier upgrade will go live around December 8 on block 13,773,000. Because of block times and time zones, the exact date may vary slightly.
On November 11, Beiko stated that the only change will be “hopefully for the last time” delaying the difficulty bomb.
The only proposal included in the upgrade is EIP-4345, which delays the difficulty bomb until June 2022. It is hoped that by then, “the merge” will have occurred and the network will be operating on proof-of-stake consensus. As a result, the developers decided not to postpone the bomb on Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet.
Beiko went on:
With the recent progress toward Ethereum’s Proof of Stake transition, it was decided to only postpone the bomb on mainnet for the time being and attempt to run the Proof of Stake transition on Ropsten before the bomb detonates on that network.
In early August, EIP-3554 was included in the London upgrade to postpone the difficulty bomb until December.
The Great Ice Age
The Arrow Glacier network upgrade is similar to the Muir Glacier network upgrade, which was completed in January. It modifies the parameters of the Ethereum “Ice Age,” an algorithm designed to gradually increase the difficulty of mining Ethereum blocks.
The difficulty bomb is a reference to the increasing complexity of mathematical “puzzles” in the proof-of-work mining algorithm. When these calculations become more difficult, block times become longer than usual, and miners’ rewards are reduced.
Over time, the mechanism increases the difficulty exponentially. This eventually leads to the “Ice Age,” in which the blockchain freezes and stops producing blocks because it becomes too difficult to mine.
Node operators must update their clients, but Ethereum holders do not need to do anything.
ETH Price Prediction
Under the hood upgrades like this have a negligible impact on Ethereum prices. According to CoinGecko, ETH was trading down 1.7 percent on the day at $4,642 at the time of publication.
On November 10, Ethereum reached a new all-time high of $4,878 and is now cooling slightly from that high. The asset has gained 31% in the last 30 days, but it may continue to fall if bitcoin does not continue to rise.