What is Difficulty Bomb?

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The difficulty bomb is a feature of Ethereum mining in which mining requires an increasingly large amount of effort and resources until it one day becomes unfeasible. The idea is to ensure all miners switch to the latest upgrade provided by the Ethereum network where Proof of Work mining is no longer required.

How The Difficulty Bomb Works

The developers created the difficulty bomb to harden the process of mining new coins. They do so by increasing the resource requirements for mining. Furthermore, they make the arithmetic puzzles used in mining very complex.

By raising the complexity of the equations, the network makes it harder for people with insufficient resources to mine. Moreover, the time to solve the puzzles increases vastly with time.

As the explosion of the bomb nears, the mining process becomes completely infeasible. Any miner will incur losses when trying to mine when the difficulty bombs explode. At that point, the former protocol is left, and stakeholders take the latest protocol.

Relevance of The Difficulty Bomb in Ethereum

Often, this bomb has been active when Ethereum is upgrading. Good examples are the Constantinople and Byzantium upgrades in 2019 and 2017, respectively.

As it stands now, there is a delayed difficulty bomb. It sets up for the network’s merger with the beacon chain. The idea is to switch from POW mining to PoS staking using Ethereum 2.0. Hence, this delay paves the way for the investors and miners to start switching from PoW mining.

This bomb was first delayed in January 2020 for 611 days. But, the recent EIP upgrades delayed the bomb to somewhere near December. So, the relevance of the difficulty bomb is as follows;

  • Help in preparing the network for an upgrade. 
  • Prepares the miners for must-have changes at the core of the Ethereum program

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