The Gray Glacier hardfork, whose sole purpose is to delay the activation of the "difficulty bomb," was activated yesterday on the Ethereum network at block #15,050,000.
This is an original code fragment of the Ethereum protocol whose implementation exponentially increases the complexity of mining. This is expected to make it unprofitable to work on the proof-of-work algorithm as the protocol moves towards proof-of-stake (PoS).
The developers have postponed the "difficulty bomb" on several occasions. In June, they decided to do so again with the Gray Glacier update, linking it to the planned transition of the core network to the PoS algorithm via "The Merge."
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As a result of the hardfork, the automatic increase in mining difficulty has been delayed by 700,000 blocks, or approximately 100 days (until early October).
According to the team's forecast, The Merge will take place in August. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has also called this month the most likely time to make the switch.