Ethereum’s recent Muir Glacier hard fork has apparently reduced block mining time by almost 25%.
According to data on Etherscan, between the 1st and 4th January 2020, the daily average block time on the blockchain dropped from 17.16 to 12.96 seconds – a 24.48% decrease. This translated into nearly 32% more blocks mined, and an increase of more than 31% in block rewards, stoking Ether (ETH) inflation.
The latest Ethereum hard fork, which was included as part of the Istanbul upgrade (read more), is another attempt to delay the onset of the much-talked about ‘Ethereum Ice Age’ – caused by a protocol that raises the network’s mining difficulty level over time, inevitably resulting the situation where mining the chain will be all but impossible.
The Ice Age, or Difficulty Time Bomb, is necessary to prevent miners from continuing to mine the old Ethereum proof-of-work chain after the deployment of the new Ethereum 2.0 proof-of-stake blockchain.
Those behind the switch argue that moving to a proof-of-stake blockchain means the entire ecosystem will be able to operate without needing ever greater computation power, and will instead enable miners to earn rewards based on their balance.