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According to the network's key developers, including Tim Beiko of the Ethereum Foundation, the difficulty bomb-delaying Gray Glacier hard fork went live on Thursday without a hitch.
In the following days, the Sepolia testnet will also undergo its Merge experiment, making it the second-to-last testnet to do so before the actual Merge.
Thursday at around 6:54 a.m. EST, the Gray Glacier hard fork was started on block 15050000, according to Etherscan. The hard fork will now postpone the difficulty bomb by about 700,000 blocks or 100 days, giving developers till the middle of October to finish the long-awaited Merge.
Tim Beiko, the community manager for Ethereum Foundation, took to Twitter later on Thursday to report that 20 blocks after the fork, all monitored notes remained in sync, stating:
“20 blocks past the fork, and it’s looking good: all monitored nodes except @OpenEthereumOrg, which doesn’t support the fork, are in sync. No blocks on the old chain so far!”
Nethermind, an Ethereum ecosystem developer, also verified the success of the hard fork on Twitter, noting that the difficulty bomb had been successfully postponed.
The difficulty bomb is a method designed to dissuade Ether (ETH) miners from proof-of-work (PoW) mining on Ethereum before the network’s eventual fusion with the proof-of-stake (PoS)-based Beacon Chain.
This is accomplished by raising PoW puzzles’ difficulty level, resulting in longer block delays and fewer ETH mining payouts. Due to the steady slowdown of block generation, the process would make Merge considerably more difficult for developers to accomplish.
It was necessary to delay the difficulty bomb because it would have delayed the construction of new blocks to the point where it would have been nearly impossible to implement further network improvements.
Due to the Merge’s various delays over the past few years, the difficulty bomb has been postponed multiple times. The latest Arrow Glacier delay occurred in December 2021, delaying the bomb’s deployment until the middle of 2022.
Beiko also posted a tweet from the Ethereum Foundation on Thursday, revealing that the Sepolia testnet will conduct a dress rehearsal of the Merge over the next several days.
“AfteAfter years of work to bring proof-of-stake to Ethereum, we are now well into the final testing stage: testnet deployments!”
“With Ropsten already transitioned to proof-of-stake and shadow forks continuing regularly, Sepolia is now ready for the Merge. After Sepolia, only Goerli/Prater will need to be merged before moving to mainnet,” the statement said.
The Ethereum Foundation website estimates that the formal Merge will occur during Q3/Q4 of this year, while the most recent post adds that “the timing for the Ethereum mainnet proof-of-stake transfer has not yet been determined.” Any source asserting otherwise is likely a fraud. This blog will be updated with new content.”