Average Block Production on Ethereum Falls to 2020 Levels

Average Block Production on Ethereum Falls to 2020 Levels

Is Ethereum mining starting to falter? It seems. The block generation wait time interval on that network has jumped more than 5% in just one month and its current average had not been seen in at least three years.

According to graphics Offered by network explorer Glassnode, the average time interval between Ethereum blocks has risen to more than 14 seconds. They suggested that this is a consequence of the difficulty bomb, implemented last year in the Ethereum Improvement Test (EIP), number 4345, also known as hard fork Arrow Glacier.

“Ethereum’s average time between blocks has started to rise, increasing 5% since April. The difficulty bomb implemented in EIP-4345 has started to kick in, with average block intervals increasing from 13.3s to 14.0 seconds.”

Glassnode, analytics firm.

Average block generation was between 13.0 and 13.2 seconds as of last month. However, since the beginning of May, the indicator has not stopped rising amid rallies, reaching times of 14.22 secondsnot registered since the first days of the year 2020, as shown in the graph below.

Ethereum’s average time interval between blocks is at unseen levels
from January 2020. Source: glass node.

According to Thomas Jay Rushwho is one of the developers of Ethereum, blocks produced per week represents the number of seconds it takes on average to produce a block. This, if it goes up or down, denotes the effect of the difficulty bomb.

The difficulty bomb is a mechanism of the Ethereum network that makes it practically impossible to mine with specialized hardware (video cards). Its outbreak, scheduled for June 29 of this year, will open the way to a phase known as “the ice age”, where Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining will be “frozen”, giving rise to “the merger” or «The Merge«.

“The time to make a decision is drawing near”

The increased time interval between Ethereum blocks suggests that mining is likely to actually end this year, as ratified by several developers. However, and as noted at the time, the decision not to postpone the explosion of the difficulty bomb is not finalbecause the programmers have several days to meet before the scheduled day arrives.

But according to Thomas Jay Rush, the explosion of the bomb seems imminent. He has followed the behavior of the mechanism weekly since last February and in his last update in ethresear.chon Wednesday, May 25, saw a possible drop in the blocks produced, as a direct consequence of the explosion.

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“It seems to me that the time to make a decision is approaching. I think we can expect a fairly rapid decline from here (based on previous pumps),” she wrote, sharing the chart below.

chart shows decline in number of ethereum blocks produced weekly
Weekly block production on Ethereum has started to drop and a decline is expected. Font: Thomas Jay Rush.

What can be seen in the image is the weekly production of blocks in the Ethereum network, which, at the end of this week, seems to have embarked on a fall very similar to the previous oneswhen there was also an intervention of the difficulty bomb, since it was thought –wrongly– that Ethereum would finally be updated.

Rush predicts that in mid-June blocks will be generated every 15 seconds and that, by the end of that month, the figure will rise to 16 seconds.

This is especially important because will make Ethereum mining much more complicated, which, according to 2Miners, has an interesting participation in today’s sun. The hash rate o Computing power of this network is 1.04 PH/s as of May 26, 2022, one of the highest reached this year. Curious, because the low profitability has made operators think about turning off their rigs.

And where will the miners go?

In the midst of a scenario where mining in Ethereum is becoming increasingly complicated to carry out, operators still seem to be unclear what the course will bealthough opportunities in other niches exist.

There are altcoins like Ethereum Classic (ETC) that, loyal to Proof of Work, have offered Ethereum miners to consider starting operations on that network, with recommendations for those who eventually mine ETC after the departure to PoS of Ethereum.

In fact, Poolin, which is one of the most important mining pools on the market, communicated the integration with Ethereum Classic, so interested miners will be able to use their services in search of profitability.

graphics cards for ethereum mining
GPU mining of Ethereum will cease to exist this year, according to developers. Font:nanadua11 / pixabay.com

Seeing this and before the imminent explosion of the difficulty bomb in Ethereum, there is nothing left for the miners except to know what is coming and, as Thomas Jay Rush said, to make a decision. The event has already been announced.