Ethereum Classic (ETC) is now set for a hard fork that will further diversify its presence from the mainstream Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, as developers look to disable a ‘difficulty bomb’ that would render mining increasingly unprofitable over time.
Occurring at block 5,900,000, Ethereum Classic will now move to disable a native feature that would increase mining difficulty ahead of a change to proof-of-stake consensus.
While Ethereum plans to usher in its planned ‘Casper’ consensus change and adopt proof-of-stake, the news effectively means that Ethereum Classic will commit to proof-of-work mechanics for the foreseeable future.
In a statement to CoinDesk, Anthony Lusardi – the developer and director of ETC Cooperative – quipped that “There’s a lot of new algorithms being proposed like proof-of-stake, delegated proof-of-stake and byzantine fault tolerance, and within our community we’re not convinced that these newer versions of consensus are any more decentralized and we’re somewhat afraid that they may be more centralized than say proof-of-work.”
The decision has been mulled for several months – discussions as to whether Ethereum Classic would maintain its proof-of-work system began in 2016, while the project’s community implemented a fork to delay the bomb in 2017.
Ethereum Classic proponents have issued their belief that proof-of-work systems resist centralization (and hence, censorship) thanks to the fact that miners must continually invest in new hardware. Conversely, it is believed that nothing could prevent – nor change – a participant attaining economic majority in a proof-of-stake system.
The fork is unlikely to generate major disruptions, given that many major network participants have already updated their software in line with many community discussions and announcements.
Ethereum Classic’s price levels remain steady north of the $14 USD mark – having reached its 2018 peak at $37.71 USD on February 19th.