The handling of the so-called “difficulty bomb” on the Ethereum network has been delayed once again, this time until August 2022. The difficulty bomb will be a crucial element in Ethereum’s “Merge”, i.e. migration from the current proof-of-work consensus, to the proof-of-stake consensus.
After the testnet launch on Ropsten earlier in the past week, a number of bugs appeared, causing the delay. In fact, this is the sixth time that the difficulty bomb has been delayed. However, the Merge is still scheduled to occur sometime before mid-August 2022.
The difficulty bomb was set up in Ethereum’s code in 2015. Its purpose is to make sure that Ethereum’s validators will have no choice but to comply with the migration. Namely, with the current proof-of-work consensus, validators’ computers are solving complex math problems in order to verify and record transactions. As its name implies, the difficulty bomb will increase block difficulty (i.e. the time it takes to verify and add transactions). This will eventually make it impossible for validators to work in this way.
The new proof-of-stake consensus is more efficient and consumes less energy, which is the cause behind the Merge. With this type of consensus mechanism, validators instead stake coins in order to confirm transactions.
Ethereum is among the cryptos suffering a double-digit fall in the last seven days. Ether (ETH), its native token, is 28% down since last week.