EIP 3554 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the (Difficulty) Bomb

EIP 3554 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the (Difficulty) Bomb

Believe it or not, there exist EIPs that aren’t numbered “1559,” and we’re shining the light on a little discussed part of the upcoming London hard fork – EIP 3554.

EIP 3554 will delay the difficulty bomb on Ethereum until December when PoS can *hopefully* be merged in.

But what’s the reason for the delay? Why don’t we just remove the difficulty bomb so we don’t have to worry about it?

You might be wondering,

What is the difficulty bomb to begin with?

The difficulty bomb is a built in function that exponentially “explodes” block times after a certain difficulty level is met. When it explodes, the usability of Ethereum goes to 0 as transactions slow to a crawl. It’s happened before in 2017 and twice in 2019.

https://preview.redd.it/lzeph7dvulb71.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=03193e019118c9ca7189eee532f1a2dd65d06c4a

So, what are the benefits?

There are a couple:

The first is that, EIP 3554 is a defense against attackers that fork Ethereum. Although changing the code is relatively simple, distributing clients (like ours) that ship with the code change is very difficult. This is where Ethereum’s multi-client system shines – if it’s a hostile fork, it’s convincing one client team isn’t the end of the story, you need to ask all of the major clients.

The other benefit is that, it ensures there is continued maintenance and urgency for changes. If allcoredevs drag their feet with implementing changes, the difficulty bomb sets in and Ethereum becomes unusable.

This is what Tim Beiko of the Ethereum Foundation had to say about this:

https://twitter.com/TimBeiko/status/1414635059324198913?s=20

For better or worse, I suspect London would have shipped 1-6 months later if it were not for the difficulty bomb.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, when the merge happens, it’ll encourage everyone to hop onto the Proof of Stake system, or else they risk staying on a chain that is unusable.

This was the original reason that this was put in, as miners wouldn’t be able to pretend that PoS would be implemented.

Do you think the difficulty bomb is worth keeping on even on PoS?

Let us know down below and drop a follow if you want to see more of this kind of content as we’re trying out Reddit.

Check out this PEEPanEIP Episode from @EthCatHerders that this post was based on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwCPrw-4d98

submitted by /u/nethermindeth
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from Ethereum https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/olla5w/eip_3554_or_how_i_learned_to_stop_worrying_and/

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