Ethereum Arrow Glacier upgrade (estimated time: 2021.12.8 at block 13,773,000)

The Arrow Glacier upgrade is the third network upgrade planned by the proof-of-work Ethereum network in 2021. Earlier this year, the Ethereum mainnet successfully deployed the Berlin upgrade in April and the London upgrade in August, incorporating 4 and 5 EIPs respectively.

Arrow Glacier is tentatively scheduled to activate on December 8, 2021.

 What changes will the Arrow Glacier upgrade bring?

Arrow Glacier is another network upgrade similar to Muir Glacier. It will only include an EIP-the difficulty bomb will be postponed to next summer to prevent the blockchain from freezing, which is the “ice age”.

EIP-4345: The difficulty bomb is delayed until June 2022

This EIP proposal pushes the difficulty bomb back by 10,700,000 blocks from the actual block height, which is delayed from the last time, that is, the London upgrade adds 1,000,000 blocks. The bomb is likely to explode in June 2022.

At the beginning, Tim Beiko proposed on October 5 that EIP should be postponed by 10,500,000 blocks, in May 2022. However, following further discussions at the Ethereum core developer conference, it was decided to push the bomb to next summer.

Core developers have reasonable confidence in the merger and upgrade before next summer is definitely a factor that needs to be considered. In addition, Thomas Jay Rush’s article “Adventures in Difficulty Bombing” (Chinese translation) provides a good illustration of how far away the bomb should be set and helps explain the reason for the delay compared to the original plan. The Ethereum client team hopes to avoid having to organize another postponement while preparing for the next major upgrade.

The history of the “difficulty bomb”

The difficulty bomb is a set of codes added to the Ethereum blockchain to increase the difficulty level exponentially, making it difficult for miners to keep up with the new difficulty. The block time will be increased and will cause the block chain to freeze. It is a very “steep” exponential curve; it is flat for a long period of time; then it starts quickly when the bomb “explodes”.

Why add a difficulty bomb in the beginning

The difficulty adjustment process was originally set up to facilitate the transition to proof of rights. Over time, it has acquired additional properties, which is to force those who want to continue to run Ethereum to upgrade their nodes. This means that staying in the old chain becomes impossible.

EIPs timeline and related EIPs

Ethereum Arrow Glacier upgrade (estimated time: 2021.12.8 at block 13,773,000)

2015.11: “EIP-2: Homeland Hard Fork Changes” introduced a modification to the difficulty adjustment algorithm before homeland.

2016.4: “EIP-100: Modified Difficulty Adjustment for Average Block Production Time Including Uncle Blocks” updated the difficulty adjustment algorithm to make the average block production rate including uncle blocks constant as the goal, thereby ensuring The highly predictable issuance rate makes it impossible to increase the issuance rate by manipulating the uncle block rate.

2016.6: “EIP-649: Metropolis Difficulty Bomb Delay and Block Reward Reduction” was introduced to delay the difficulty bomb for about one and a half years and reduce blocks through the Byzantine fork (the first part of the Metropolis fork) award.

2018.7: “EIP-1234: Constantinople Difficulty Bomb Delay and Block Reward Adjustment” delayed the difficulty bomb for about 12 months and forked in Constantinople (the second part of the Metropolis fork) Reduced block rewards.

2019.11: “EIP-2384: Muir Glacier Difficulty Bomb Delay” delayed the difficulty bomb by 4,000,000 blocks (approximately 611 days).

2021.5: “EIP-3554: Difficulty Bomb Delayed to December 2021” This EIP was deployed with the London upgrade in August to postpone the difficulty bomb to the first week of December 2021.

2021.10: “EIP-4345: Difficulty Bomb Delayed to June 2022” This EIP proposes to delay the difficulty bomb by 10,700,000 blocks from the actual block height. It is likely to be activated on the Ethereum mainnet on December 8, 2021.

what do I need to do?

If you are running any number of Ethereum PoW nodes, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade your nodes to the latest client version before the Arrow Glacier upgrade activation date. Please continue to follow the announcements on the Ethereum Foundation blog for more information in the future.

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