Average block times in ethereum have dropped to their lowest level ever at just 12.5 seconds, down from 21 seconds per block.
That’s after the Constantinople upgrade kicked-in on Thursday, delaying the difficulty bomb for another 12 months.
A fall in average block-times has been seen after similar delays of the difficulty bomb, but this time the average has fallen by circa 30 seconds more than previously according to etherscan data and by about 1 minute more according to ethstats (pictured above).
Etherscan is a day behind, while ethstats seems to calculate it in real-time, with the hashrate seeing no change recently.
A sudden increase in hash makes block finding quicker until the difficulty adjusts, so that could be an explanation for the degree of fall in block-times, but depending on where it levels off, it might be just a result of temporary adjustments to complex parameters following the ice age delay.
As can be seen the hash has fallen, but in the past two-three weeks it has been relatively stable. When hash falls, blocks are generally more difficult to find as there are less miners working at the same difficulty level until that adjusts by the block in eth.
When hash rises, the useless math calculations are easier to solve because difficulty has not yet increased to account for the increased mining power. After a few blocks, it then adjusts.
Then there’s the difficulty bomb, a protocol level algorithm that after a certain block number starts to slowly, but exponentially, increase the difficulty level of finding a block to the point it eventually is effectively impossible to mine.
That’s there to take miners out of the equation when it comes to the Proof of Stake (PoS) upgrade which appears many years away as ethereum will undergo a transition process during which time a PoS chain and the Proof of Work (PoW) chain will run in parallel.
As that is taking longer than initially expected, the difficulty bomb has been delayed twice now, with it previously initially falling to circa 13.50 seconds per block to then remain somewhat stable at 14-15 seconds.
The faster block-times have slightly increased daily new supply which fell to 12,800 eth after the fork, but has now jumped to ◊13,600.
That’s at about the level it was before the fork when the difficulty bomb had increased block times to circa 21 seconds, thus daily new supply fell to about ◊13,500.
That’s a drop from ◊20,000 prior to the ice age kicking-in this December. Now it should level off to about ◊13,000 a day with a further significant reduction of new supply to follow when the PoS Beacon Chain launches potentially by the end of the year.