Ethereum’s Block Count Increases Following ‘Difficulty Bomb’ Delay

By March 11, 2019 Ethereum
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The Ethereum blockchain has seen its block count generation rise following the recent network upgrades implemented via Constantinople and St. Petersburg.

In the 24 hours that followed the hard fork, Ethereum’s daily block count jumped by more than 1,500, data from Etherscan shows.

The increase in the number of blocks on the ethereum blockchain is attributed to the introduction of one of the Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), in this case, EIP 1234. The implementation of the proposal introduced a code that disabled Ethereum’s “difficulty bomb,” code, postponing it for a further 12 months.

The difficulty bomb is a software code that is meant to encourage miners to switch from the proof-of-work consensus to the new proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism by continuously increasing the network’s mining difficulty and thereby gradually slowing down block generation.

Activating EIP 1234 looks to have reversed the effect of the difficulty bomb very quickly, with Ethereum’s block time- the time taken to create a block of transactions- cut from about 19 to14 seconds.

Ethereum core developers have now begun focusing on the network’s hard fork that is expected to introduce even more EIPs. Afri Schoedon had suggested in January that the next hard fork for the blockchain, dubbed Istanbul, will likely be activated in October

Various pitfalls still exist to mean that core devs are yet to agree on an exact timeline for Istanbul, with MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan reportedly attributing this to the fact that Ethereum’s ecosystem continues to scale.

According to Monahan, bringing in more developers, companies, and users presents a difficult the core developers have to contend with.

Added to these are the nodes, different client software, exchanges, wallets and so forth- all these pieces need consideration before the hard fork as they present a lot of avenues through which things could go wrong.

It is the possibility of things going wrong that has seen a few companies looking to launch services and support for ether express concerns.

Just this week, the president of Fidelity’s digital asset division Tom Jessop indicated that the platform would delay adding support for ether (ETH) due to concerns about its upcoming hard fork.

However, even as reservations and concerns about hard forks surface, many have noted that Ethereum’s latest network upgrade occurred without any complications.

The MyCrypto chief points out that this is likely to have been brought about by the many attempts Ethereum core developers tried to activate Constantinople. It means most stakeholders were able to upgrade as required.

An analysis of the blockchain also shows that the network has not experienced any major fluctuations in transaction volumes or message calls relating to smart contracts since the upgrades.

Ethereum’s hashrate has also been reported to have witnessed negligible changes since the hard fork, meaning that most of the network’s miners upgraded their nodes and currently mine on the upgraded.

Regardless, a very small number of nodes that did not upgrade and have seen their combined computational power create 19 wasted blocks on the older version of the blockchain.

Martin Holst Swende, the security lead at Ethereum Foundation referred to this as “a waste of money,” and has urged this group of miners to update to avoid wasting more energy.

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

In the 24 hours that followed the hard fork, […]

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