The development of “Difficulty bomb“ anticipated to influence the amount of Ether to add onto the Ethereum’s platform, was brought to a conclusion on 13 August, as the platform’s developers consented to delay the change so as to incorporate it into the platform’s upcoming hard fork, Constantinople.
The Constantinople hard fork has the intrinsic purpose of enhancing the platforms overall efficiency and reduction of transaction fees. It is an addition to the system expected to facilitate the platforms change from a Proof of Work to a Proof of Stake consensus algorithm.
A GitHub post revealed that a total number of fourteen Ethereum-based developers used a group video call to unanimously vote for an implementation of the EIP-1234. The EIP-1234 refers to an Ethereum’s upgraded protocol that will cut down on the total number of Ethers generated per block from 3 ETH to 2 ETH.
The post summarized the decision by saying that:
“This EIP proposes to delay the difficulty bomb for approximately one and a half year and to reduce the block rewards with the Constantinople fork, the second part of the Metropolis fork, Starting with `CNSTNTNPL_FORK_BLKNUM` the client will calculate the difficulty based on a fake block number suggesting the client that the difficulty bomb is adjusting around 5 million blocks later than previously specified with the Homestead fork. Furthermore, block rewards will be adjusted to a base of 2 ETH, uncle and nephew rewards will be adjusted accordingly.”
“Difficulty Bomb” is a term coined to describe the process that a miner would have to go through before being rewarded with an Ether. In general terms, it refers to a time-correlated increment in the difficulty of the puzzles that a particular miner would have to solve in order to be issued an Ether. The progressive difficulty means that it will be progressively harder to mine new Ethers with time, which will in turn slow down the formation of new blocks on the platform.
Cutting down the amount of Ether produced to 2ETH came in as a conservative decision that was consequential to the marked disparity of opinion relating to the proper issuance change. One of the developers at the meeting, Danny Ryan, referred to the discussion on issuance as an “incremental compromise” which is necessary to allow a seamless transition to the Proof of Stake consensus algorithm.
“Everything I view in the issuance discussion is an incremental compromise to encourage the community and move things sanely until we move to proof-of-stake, which will bring issuance down to the range of 0.5 or 1 percent per year, and at that point, I think the community will certainly be happy. These are incremental compromises until we get to that goal,”
Finally, when the discussion came down to consider the appropriate algorithm that would help in restricting the use of ASIC hardware in the mining of Ether, an agreement couldn’t be achieved. Following this, the group agreed that the issue should be subjected to further vigorous research before any definite conclusions.