Ethereum Ice Age Difficulty Bombs Leads the Network to Oligarchy: Analyst

By Nivesh Rustgi
Published December 7, 2019 Updated February 17, 2020
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Ethereum Ice Age Difficulty Bombs Leads the Network to Oligarchy: Analyst

By Nivesh Rustgi
Published December 7, 2019 Updated February 17, 2020
  • Ethereum source code developer, James Hancock, recently proposed the Muir Glacier Hard Fork on Ethereum to rollback on the Ice Age Difficulty.
  • Crypto Analyst, Tuur Demeester, termed the ‘difficulty bombs’ as a blatant approach towards oligarchy.

Ethereum’s Ice Age difficulty presents a lot of uncertainties and obstacles in the network. Hancock notes in his EIP 2387 (Ethereum Improvement Protocol)  that,

To predict the impact of the ice age, you must both make assumptions about the difficulty of main-net in the future, and predict the effect of changes in difficulty to the impact on the ice age and thus block-times.

The Ice Age has been blamed as the reason for the drastic increase in block times as the number of transactions increases. It disables the adaptive nature of Ethereum to accommodate a varying number of transactions.  According to insidebitcoins review of bitcoin billionaire.

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The ice age increments every 100,000 blocks. It at first is barely noticeable, but once it is visible, there is a drastic effect on block-times in the network.

The difficulty bombs are possibly added to address the growth of the network by decreasing the inflations. However, according to Hancock, it presents a lot of problems. Hence, must be done away it completely.

Nevertheless, Tuur Demeester, the Founding Partner Adamant Capital, tweeted that the introduction of difficulty in the system out of thin air disincentives the miners.

“Thus removes the protection of the network.”

Moreover, he presented the analogy of the difficulty bombs in leading the network towards oligarchy. As the decentralized protection of the network would decrease, the control stays in the hands of a few. He tweeted,

it’s the equivalent of the Senate writing in the constitution “this country will transition to communism in XX days” in order to ensure that the constitution be regularly “updated”, thus conveniently turning senators into oligarchs.

The new proposal aims to remove the mechanism to ensure a more predictable network. Hancock notes that,

I want to address the rationale for the intention of the Iceage and the implementation of the Iceage separately.

The proposal is open for voting as the community and the nodes will decide on the matter.

What are your thoughts on the Difficulty bomb in Ethereum? Please share your views with us. 


The presented content may include the personal opinion of the author and is subject to market condition. Do your market research before investing in cryptocurrencies. The author or the publication does not hold any responsibility for your personal financial loss.
About Author
Nivesh Rustgi
1181 Articles
Nivesh from Engineering Background is a full-time Crypto Analyst at Coingape. He is an atheist who believes in love and cultural diversity. He believes that Cryptocurrency is a necessity to deter corruption. He holds small amounts of cryptocurrencies. Faith and fear are two sides of the same coin. Follow him on Twitter at @nivishoes or mail him at nivesh(at)

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