Developers of the alleged EthereumPOW hard fork claim to have dodged the so-called difficulty bomb.
This claim comes hot on the heels of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin announcing a date for the upcoming Ethereum merger that could otherwise leave proof-of-work miners out in the cold.
Ethereum’s upcoming merger will change the blockchain’s transaction verification mechanism, delegating the task to validators instead of miners to reduce the energy use of the blockchain. Instead of using expensive computing power to validate transactions, add them to a transaction block, and compete to solve complex mathematical problems, validators can contribute a “share” of ETH. This allocation of ETH becomes “locked” and the validation of transactions falls to the user who has staked the most tokens, not the one with the most computing power.
Ethereum developers have seeded the network’s code with a so-called difficulty bomb designed to gradually disincentivize miners on the so-called proof-of-work blockchain as the transition nears.
It can be done, say miners
While the transition serves the broader goal of reducing the network’s energy consumption, it could render the expensive equipment used by miners obsolete. Therefore, some miners take the law into their own hands by making it their mission to disable the difficulty bomb to protect their sources of income.
Known as EthereumPoW, the developers believe that while their task is not easy, it can be done. A letter from the group claims it has already overcome significant hurdles, including “disarming” the difficulty bomb and creating a test network. Testnets are early private versions of a new blockchain on which applications can be tested. The team also responded to claims that it was the same team responsible for developing the Ethereum Classic blockchain in 2015. At the time, a hack of The DAO, the first decentralized autonomous organization, divided the Ethereum community between those who tried to moving funds to a new blockchain and those who believed in the immutability of the original blockchain. The latter tried to continue using the old blockchain, which was called Ethereum Classic.
The group called its new hard fork “inevitable,” to which the Twittersphere responded with jokes. The co-founder of EthHub tweeted that the chain would self-destruct. Other critics, including supporters of Ethereum Classic, warned the developers behind EthereumPOW that the project would not work.
Forks are short-sighted, analysts say
News of a PoW fork emerged earlier this month when a Chinese miner, Chandler Guo, claimed he was being tapped by a Chinese mining equipment company to pursue a new fork. Guo, who lives in San Francisco, reportedly has 60 developers working on their fork. Guo said he expects the new blockchain to issue new tokens. While the upcoming merger will change the issuance pattern of ETH, no new tokens will be issued.
Buterin commented in a webinar last week that new forks would not interfere with the merger and that the Ethereum Classic community still has a superior product in line with their values.
Analysts at Messari believe that most efforts to create hard forks have been short-term and carried out without regard for maintenance and support.
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