Ethereum (ETH) has scheduled a hard fork to happen right on January 1, whether node operators are ready or not. The minor hard fork to delay the mining ice age once again was forgotten during the Istanbul hard fork on December 8.
Ethereum developers announced the hard fork toward the end of 2019, after angering the crypto community. The Muir Glacier hard fork, as it is known, already shows a 60% readiness of nodes. Unlike the Istanbul hard fork, this time nodes may get ready on time.
Supporters of the delayed fork claim the change is relatively minor, and cannot pose any significant difficulty. The previous fork, however, contained much deeper changes, which affected some smart contracts.
The Ethereum network aims to achieve the ETH 2.0 version, which will rely on staking instead of mining. But ASIC operated on the network are still influential.
Ahead of the year-end, Ethereum miners slowed down the pace, as difficulty crept upward. In the past week alone, mining slowed down from above 171 GH/s to around 150 GH/s. One of the reasons is that running a machine is inefficient, and more blocks may be discovered after January 1.
ETH market prices sank during the low-volume Christmas trading session. The coin sank by about 3.49% in the past day, to $125.29, currently achieving a net loss from the start of the year. ETH went through a series of significant tumbles in December, losing multiple support levels. The coin is seen as entering a bearish zone, potentially moving lower. The sliding prices also weigh on miners.
ETH will have to show it is capable of supporting the significantly expanded DeFi sector. Lending schemes that appeared in 2019 will depend on ETH collaterals, and a price falling to a much lower range practically erases the security of those loans.