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Ethereum Developers Decide to Delay the Difficulty Bomb, Why It’s Bad for The Merge Upgrade?

Earlier this week, the Ethereum developers implemented the much-awaited Merge upgrade on the Ropsten testnet. But on a Friday call, the developers decided to delay the difficulty-bomb raising doubts within the Ethereum community.

First-thing-first, the difficulty bomb is a special code that increases the computing difficulty of mining ETH on the Ethereum blockchain network. The difficulty bomb has been designed to eventually boot miners off the Ethereum blockchain as the network prepares for a transition to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).

But delaying the difficulty bomb would give more time to miners to stay on the Ethereum blockchain. It means that that would further delay the implementation of ‘The Merge’ upgrade on Ethereum mainnet.

While many called the Ropsten Merge event to be a success, the Ethereum developers have been dealing with fixing bugs that they discovered. There’s yet no fixed date for the implementation of The Merge on the Ethereum mainnet. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said that if no major issues are encountered, it could happen as soon as August 2022.

The decision to delay the difficulty bomb has raised concerns that it could lead to further delay in the PoS transition. During the Friday’s call, a participant named Thomas Jay Rush said:

“Delaying it gives you time. It looks bad to the community, but there’s nothing you can do about that.”

Will The Ethereum Merge Happen in 2022?

Last month, Vitalik Buterin said that if the developers need more time, they could push The Merge upgrade to September/October. Speaking to Bloomberg, Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko said that there’s still a 1-10% chance that The Merge won’t happen this year.

Justifying the recent delay of the difficulty bomb, Beiko said that he’s worried about the developer burnout to get the Merge done. Beiko said:

“If we do delay this, I think it should be a realistic delay to still maintain a sense of urgency. But too much pressure pushes teams to burn out, that’s also a situation we don’t want to be in.”

“Maybe we are not quite at the mainnet code,” he added. This has dampened all the excitement around The Merge upgrade on Ethereum.


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