Ethereum Foundation announces that the network will undergo a new block upgrade, Muir Glacier, on Wednesday, January 1, 2020. This upgrade would be in addition to the just-conducted Ethereum Istanbul Hard Fork.
This approaching upgrade is known as Muir Glacier, and it is meant to activate on the Ethereum Mainnet at block number 9,200,000.
Unlike Istanbul fork, which later implemented six out of 11 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) planned for the upgrade, Muir Glacier has only one improvement proposal, EIP 2384.
The EIP was adopted to bring about a delay in the difficulty bomb for another 4,000,000 blocks, or approximately 611 days. It was previously estimated that the bomb would not be noticeable until mid-2020 when planning for Istanbul; however, the estimation turns out to be wrong.
The difficulty bomb became noticeable again on October 5, 2019, at block 8,600,000, raising the average block time, which is now around 14.3 seconds since block 8,900,000. The bomb resulted in the call for another upgrade.
This move comes as the Ethereum community anticipates the Berlin hard fork in June 2020.
How will Ethereum’s Muir Glacier Upgrade Affect ETH Holders?
Ether holders that use exchanges, web wallet service, and mobile wallet services such as Coinbase, Binance, MyEtherWallet, Metamask, or Trezorneed did not worry about the upgrade unless they are informed about taking additional steps by their service provider.
However, anyone running an ETH node will need to upgrade to the latest version before Wednesday, December 30.
Ethereum Foundation’s tweet read:
“[IMPORTANT] Upgrade your nodes for the Muir Glacier upgrade happening on January 1, 2020!”
Enter Ethereum 2.0
Over the course of 2020, ETH will see perhaps the most significant change a blockchain can experience: a transition in its consensus mechanism.
Currently, Ethereum leverages a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, where high-powered servers, referred to as nodes, compete to solve extremely complex mathematical puzzles in order to validate transactions and approve new blocks. Due to the difficulty involved, the servers have a remarkably high rate of electricity consumption.
The upgrades in the ETH network, including the Istanbul Hard fork and the latest Muir Glacier upgrade, are gearing up for a shift to a much more environmentally friendly Proof-of-Stake (PoS) mechanism. The transition has been officially deemed the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. Under the PoS model, nodes will stake ether (ETH) to vote on and collectively approve new blocks.