Ethereum's (ETH) 'difficulty bomb' is a term that refers to the growing difficulty of Ethereum (ETH) network resulting in an increased amount of time required to mine one Ethereum (ETH) block. Periodically, this bomb is delayed by the hard fork, but one Ethereum (ETH) developer has a much better idea.
Freeze instead of a bomb
James Hancock, a contributor to Ethereum (ETH) network development, has published an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP 2125), explaining the construction that eliminates the necessity to delay 'Ethereum Ice Age' timely.
According to the pull request attributed to this proposal, a new concept is named Difficulty Freeze. It should be implemented into Ethereum (ETH) mainnet within the protocols difficulty adjustment algorithm. The situation of Difficulty Freeze begins at a pre-determined block height when the network difficulty is frozen.
Mr. Hancock is certain that it won't stop the blockchain of Ethereum (ETH) but will incentivize developers to upgrade it regularly. Any further chain split (soft fork, hard fork) will, therefore, be subject to this difficulty freeze.
More predictable Ethereum (ETH)
Mr. Hancock announced some factors that make his proposal valuable for the progress of the Ethereum (ETH) network. In terms of tokenomics, he is sure that:
"Under the Difficulty Freeze, it is more likely that issuance would increase; however, clients are motivated to prevent this and keep clients syncing effectively. This means it is much less likely to occur."
Instead of this, the current effect on the Block Time Targeting mechanism is rather complex to model. As a result, miners and network participants can't be sure about the network status.
As reported by U.Today, the latest difficulty adjustment, Muir Glacier hardfork, took place on January 1, 2020, and was severely criticized by some members of the crypto community.