Ethereum’s Upcoming Grey Glacier Upgrade

A week ago, Tim Beiko of EF published an article on the EF Blog stating that the Ethereum network will undergo a scheduled network upgrade at block 15,050,000, which is expected to take place on June 29, 2022.

But the exact date may change due to different block times and time zones. The teams involved with Ethereum nodes will need to upgrade their nodes by June 27, 2022.

This upgrade is called Gray Glacier.

Grey Glacier is the same upgrade as network upgrades like Byzantium, Constantinople, Muir Glacier, London and Arrow Glacier.

Its main effect is to push back the Ice Age difficulty bomb activation time by 700,000 blocks, or about 100 days. This time the update EIP is 5133, and the estimated time is mid-September.

Previously, the Ethereum Foundation issued a notice to start EIP4345, delaying the original difficulty bomb until June 2022. Unsurprisingly, the difficulty bomb continues to delay, as per

If EIP-5133 is implemented, the start time will be adjusted to 11400000. Based on the Ethereum block time, the difficulty bomb will be moved back by about 3.5 months, and the time is expected to be within the Ethereum budget consolidation period (Q4).

However, according to netizens on Twitter, if the block delay time caused by the difficulty bomb is deduced, there may be an error with the current block time calculation.

Before calculating, we need to understand the difficulty bomb, which is a set of code added to the Ethereum blockchain to exponentially increase the mining difficulty level, making it difficult for miners to keep up. When the blocking time increases infinitely, the blockchain eventually freezes. Mining difficulty exhibits a very “steep” exponential curve, normally a flat curve, and when the difficulty bomb “explodes” it kicks in quickly.

At present, the mining difficulty already has some periodic block generation delays. When 5133 starts to take effect, the mining difficulty will decrease slightly, then remain flat for a period of time, and then slowly increase again.

Under the influence of such network indicators, the time estimated by the average value will change, and it is necessary to wait for the time to approach and predict the time again.

Before the Gray Glacier upgrade, for compatibility with the Gray Glacier upgrade,

Node operators and miners need to update the client versions they run to the following versions:


When upgrading, changes to the protocol will be written to various Ethereum clients such as Besu, Erigon, go-ethereum, and Nethermind. The protocol is activated at a specific block number. Any nodes not upgraded to the new ruleset will be discarded on the old chain, where the previous rules still exist.

Therefore, in order to be compatible with the latest Ethereum, node operators (basically including all industry roles except token holders) need to be updated in case of security issues.

After this upgrade, it also means that the progress of Ethereum has been confirmed again. So what else can we expect?

Ethereum calls eth1 the execution layer and eth2 the settlement layer. This title can directly feel that eth1 is one of the execution shards.

And this is one of the biggest expectations in the future, eth2 will be a larger homogeneous sharding structure. This is also the main step in 2023: the sharding chain.

After the PoS consensus began to undertake the network packaging, the final vision of Ethereum has not been realized. Because of the huge transaction data, it will still cause congestion and increase the gas fee. Therefore, the development route centered on rollup will require Ethereum to be realized under the PoS consensus. The successful operation of the shard chain.

Sharding is the process of splitting a database horizontally to spread the load, and in the context of Ethereum, sharding will reduce network congestion and increase transactions per second by creating new chains called “shards”.

The sharding process of Ethereum will be a multi-stage upgrade process, and finally the sharding chain will distribute the network load to 64 new chains. Hardware requirements will be kept low to standardize running nodes locally.

The shard upgrade is expected in 2023, depending on how quickly the post-merger work progresses. Sharding will provide Ethereum with more ability to store and access data, and is currently thought to have no impact on executing code.

Sharding is a way to scale to keep things decentralized, with shard chains, validators only store/run data for the shard they are validating instead of storing/running data for the entire network. This speeds things up and greatly reduces hardware requirements.

Sharding will eventually make it possible to run Ethereum on a personal laptop or phone. More people will be able to participate or run clients in sharded Ethereum. This will improve security, and the more dispersed the network, the smaller the attack surface.

To maintain data availability, when the first shard chain is running, it will only provide additional data to the network. No transactions or smart contracts will be processed. But when combined with rollups, they handle a lot of transactions.

Aggregation is a “Tier 2” technique. They allow dapps to bundle or “aggregate” transactions into a single transaction off-chain, generate cryptographic proofs, and then submit them to the chain. This reduces the data required for the transaction. Rollup combined with all the extra data availability provided by sharding yields 100,000 transactions per second.

However, with the processing capacity of a single shard or an initial shard, it is also necessary to consider the process of applying sharding to processing execution. The part that needs to be discussed will be more complicated, and there are also some difficulties in the roadmap.

For example, to improve the aggregation capability and reduce the cost, it is necessary to reduce the cost of transaction calldata; it takes a long time to realize the complete sharding, and only part of it can be realized first; the number of shards is increased from 4 to 64, which is very challenging for the P2P layer.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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