Ethereum Hard Fork Coming New Years Day at Block 9.2 Million, Difficulty Bomb Will Be Delayed by Approximately Two Years

December 26, 2019 / by Crypto.IQ

The Ethereum (ETH) developers have finally announced the exact date of the Muir Glacier hard fork, which will occur on New Years Day 2020 at block 9.2 million. The sole purpose of the Muir Glacier hard fork is to delay the difficulty bomb by 4 million blocks, which is nearly two years.

As explained in-depth in a previous Crypto.IQ article, the difficulty bomb was supposed to kick in around mid-2020, which is why the recent Istanbul hard fork did not include any difficulty bomb delay. Instead the difficulty bomb began to kick in before the Istanbul hard fork. This is why the Muir Glacier hard fork is happening less than a month after Istanbul.

Basically, the difficulty bomb has become unpredictable, and the 4 million block delay will give the Ethereum (ETH) developers time to fix the difficulty bomb, and if it cannot be fixed the difficulty bomb will be deleted.

This is welcome news for the Ethereum (ETH) network, since Ethereum (ETH) block times have already increased from 13 seconds to 17 seconds, significantly cutting into mining revenue. If the difficulty bomb would have had a few more months to progress, mining revenues would have dwindled towards zero and transaction fees would skyrocket.

Instead, the Muir Glacier hard fork will put Ethereum (ETH) block times back to normal, and the difficulty bomb will be no threat for almost two years. This will be an unusually long period of stability for the Ethereum (ETH) network, which could help foster economic activity on the network and increase the market price of Ethereum (ETH).