Following the Constantinople upgrade that kicked-in on February 28, the average block times in Ethereum have fallen to their lowest level. It has dropped at just 13.5 seconds, down from 21 seconds per block. That’s immediately after the Constantinople upgrade kicked-in on Thursday, delaying the difficulty bomb for another 12 months.
According to Etherscan data and Ethstats, a fall in average block-times has been quite consistent after the regular delays of the difficulty bomb. However, this time the average block has fallen by circa 30 seconds more than previously and by about 1 minute more.
A sudden increase in hash makes block finding quicker until the difficulty adjusts, but depending on where it levels off, it might be just a result of temporary adjustments to multiple parameters following the ice age delay.
Though the hash has fallen, it has been relatively stable in the past two-three weeks. When hash falls, it is difficult to find blocks as fewer miners are working at the same difficulty level until that adjusts by the block in ETH. When hash rises, it is easier to solve because the level of difficulty has not yet increased to account for the increased mining power. However, after a few blocks, it swims with the tide.
Next, there’s the difficulty bomb. It is a protocol level algorithm that after a certain block number starts too slowly, but exponentially, increases the difficulty level of finding a block to the point it eventually is effectively impossible to mine.
Further, to take miners out of the equation might take a quite long time when it comes to the Proof of Stake (PoS) upgrade. The PoS upgrade may take many years as Ethereum will undergo a transition process during which time a PoS chain will run in parallel to the Proof of Work (PoW) chain.
And, this has been the key reason for the difficulty bomb being delayed twice. Previously, it initially fell to circa 13.50 seconds per block to then remain somewhat stable at 14-15 seconds. The faster block-times have increased daily new supply which fell to 12,800 Eth after the fork but has now jumped to 13,600.
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