The Istanbul hard fork took place on the Ethereum network on December 8th. Its goal was to ensure Ethereum compatibility with Zcash cryptocurrency, increase the scalability of solutions based on zero-disclosure proof technology (SNARKs and STARKs), change the cost of gas of various operating codes (opcodes) in order to complicate spam blocks and increase the network’s resistance to DoS attacks.
Now, the Ethereum Foundation website published details of another hard fork. Why is it needed? Let us explain.
ETH Hard Fork in January 2020
The hard fork is designed to delay the activation of the so-called complexity bomb. The update is called Muir Glacier and will be activated on block #9200000, which is expected to be produced on January 2, 2020, depending on the speed of release of the blocks.
In a message, the lead developer of the Ethereum Foundation, Hudson Jameson, asked node holders to update their software by December 30, 2019.
The complexity bomb is a complementary Proof-of-Work algorithm for controlling Ethereum mining difficulty, increasing its value exponentially every 100,000 blocks. By increasing the time spent on blocks, the complexity bomb is also designed to encourage participants in the Ethereum ecosystem to switch to the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm.
Previously, Ethereum developers discussed the possibility of completely removing this mechanism, but in the end, they agreed to postpone it, and the Muir Glacier hard fork will help them with that. After it, the activation of the complexity bomb will be delayed by 4 million blocks.
According to Etherscan, the difficulty value today is 17.15 seconds. Although this is almost half the figure of September 2017, it still leads to transaction processing time being too long.