Ethereum Ice Age: A mining difficulty adjustment that was proposed to ensure the whole Ethereum blockchain community switches from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism.

The crypto community is anticipating Ethereum 2.0 or Serenity, but there’s a long way to go through Hard Forks, Ice Age, and the Difficulty Bomb.

Every change in a blockchain protocol needs a Hard Fork – an upgrade to the system accepted and performed by miners and node operators. Since 2016 the Ethereum community has gone through a number of Hard Forks on the way to Ethereum Serenity – the 2.0 version of the protocol, which is not fully implemented yet. What to expect from Serenity? 

Ethereum network is powered by Ether – a cryptocurrency built on the Proof-of-Work system. The main and the most significant upgrade that waits for the network is a switch from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake. The Ethereum Foundation is working on Casper – an implementation that will finally make the switch possible.

Here are some go advantages of using the Proof-of-Stake network. It’s more environmentally friendly, as mining will consume much less electricity. Reduced mining costs will reduce Ether inflation as well because there will be no need to produce many reward coins to make miners profitable. The community expects less centralization when it comes to mining by eliminating the economy of scale and mass production of hardware. And finally, Proof-of-Stake will implement a very high penalty for the network malicious behavior like hacking.

Ethereum’s Ice Age was introduced to assure the whole community switches to the upgrades by increasing the difficulty of mining. The extensive growth of time and cost spent on mining and expected to be implemented into the current Ethereum network is called the Difficulty Bomb. To put it simply, miners who refuse to upgrade the nodes to 2.0 Proof-of-Stake version will soon become unprofitable.

Ethereum is the first and the biggest project to switch from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake. No surprises, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are waiting for the implementations to happen and set a new benchmark in the development of blockchain technology.