Ethereum’s daily block rewards are down by circa 25% as the difficulty bomb kicks in to bring a mini ice-age for miners until the end of February.
That’s when the Constantinople upgrade is planned to go live with a push back of the difficulty bomb for a year and an issuance reduction of 2eth per block from 3eth.
Constantinople, however, has been put off so many times now that the protocol level ice age has automatically initiated to reduce new eth supply from about 20,000 a day to circa 15,000 (pictured above.)
It appears every two weeks there’s a drop of new supply by about 2,000 eth or so with it mainly due to an increase in block times.
That’s because the algorithmic difficulty increase is making it harder for the current hashrate to find a block, a hashrate that itself has been falling recently.
Due to fewer blocks, less eth is produced, so lowering supply without any manual intervention. Something that could go on in an exponentially increasing manner until it becomes impossible to mine one block.
There will be manual intervention, however, on or around the 27th of February when protocol changes are to be made through the Constantinople upgrade.
That’s if it isn’t delayed again, with devs removing a proposed new coding feature so as to rush out Constantinople after it was put back twice due to one bug or another.
Block times are now increasing to an average of 18 seconds per block, up from about 15 seconds but still no where near the 30 seconds it reached prior to the last time the difficulty bomb was delayed back in 2017.
Variance may now cause some blocks to take as much as two minutes, with capacity potentially affected although fees do remain at half a cent.
Price wise there has been no positive reaction so far perhaps because you’d expect a lag as the effects of lower supply are potentially felt depending on demand.