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Ethereum Classic Forks Away From ‘Difficulty Bomb’



De Silva

Developers for Ethereum Classic, a vestigial chain in the cryptocurrency community, have reportedly eliminated the network’s ‘difficulty bomb,’ an original feature of the Ethereum blockchain intended to make proof-of-work mining more challenging.

To many in the cryptocurrency world, Ethereum Classic is a forgettable ex. We're not all that interested in ETC's life. That said, once in a blue moon, something mildly interesting happens, like an engagement. Nobody wants to attend the wedding, but we'll still click through some Facebook photos to satisfy our curiosity.

Such is the case with the removal of ETC's difficulty bomb. On Tuesday, the Ethereum Classic development team tweeted about the impending update.

A little over an hour later, Gas Tracker – an ETC block explorer – confirmed that the difficulty bomb had indeed been removed.

For newcomers to the ecosystem, here's the backstory:

The "difficulty bomb" was a time-sensitive change that was baked into the original Ethereum blockchain to incentivize developers to shift from energy-intensive PoW to PoS. If developers failed to create and implement an alternative consensus mechanism, the difficulty bomb would have dramatically increased the challenge of PoW mining (potentially making the activity unprofitable and possibly killing the network altogether).

When the original Ethereum blockchain split, we were left with ETC (which is really the original chain) and ETH (the version of Ethereum that is supported by the Ethereum Foundation and an overwhelming majority of developers). Of course, the split was deemed necessary after the hack of an ill-fated fundraiser known as The DAO.

Today, Ethereum is well on its way toward a hybrid PoW/PoS consensus model, whereas Ethereum Classic remains stuck in the past. Even with the removal of its difficulty bomb, ETC myopically clings to PoW.

Perhaps the primary reason that readers should care about ETC is the existence of a market to sell any remaining holdings (Note: this is not financial advice). Further changes to the network could influence that price (currently ETC is trading for approximately $15 per unit), but it seems unlikely that Ethereum Classic will become anything more than an oddity in the cryptocurrency world. Some things are best forgotten.

Matthew De Silva

Matthew has a passion for law and technology. He graduated from Georgetown University, where he studied international economics and music. Matthew enjoys biking and listening to tech podcasts. He lives in Los Angeles.

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