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The Ethereum community is debating again about increasing the block size

June 5, 2020

The constant overload of the Ethereum network (ETH) has prompted some developers and community members to request an increase in the fuel capthat defines the performance of your transactions.

Etherscan data show that the average gas price has tripled since the beginning of Maywith an average of around 30 Gwei in the past few days.

Ethereum gas average price chartSource: Etherscan.io {{

The Ethereum community is debating again about increasing the block sizeThe Ethereum community is debating again about increasing the block size

According to EthGasStation, there is an average fee of $ 0.16 for sending a simple ETH transaction. With as little gas as possible, ERC-20 token transfers and smart contract purchases can cost a lot more.

The increase in commissions already has a significant impact on chain activity for DApps gamesDappRadar’s statistics show that Ethereum’s gaming activity declined in May, while other chains made small profits.

Daily activity in the top 5 Ethereum and non-Ethereum games

Source: DappRadar

Requests to increase the gas limit

Commissions have increased mainly due to increasing activity in the chain, especially due to the constant transition from Tether to the ERC-20 networkWhile the stablecoin provider is working to fix the situation via the sidechains, it may take some time before two solutions are applied.

In the meantime, some Ethereum builders, like the Exchange, started 1 inch Petitions so that the gas limit is raised by a factor of at least 2.5 over the current upper limit of 10 million gasTheoretically, this would increase the capacity of the network and reduce commissions.

The gas limit in Ethereum defines the maximum number of calculations that can be inserted into a block and is very similar to the concept of block size in Bitcoin (BTC)..

Gas is an abstract representation of the computing resources used by each operation,Ethereum developers manually set gas costs for each calculationalthough they are generally close to actual computing costs.

The problems of increasing the gas limit

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin replied directly to 1 inch, suggesting that they are pushing for a more conservative increase from 12 to 15 million gas, although he revealed that “many customer developers are concerned about risks even at these levels”.

Anton Bukov, CTO of 1 inch, told Cointelegraph that the concerns are due to possible congestion of the nodes on which the network is running::

“Operations that cost little gasoline but require a lot of resources can be used to attack nodes. […] If the transaction processing takes 10-15 seconds, the nodes completely stagnate. “

Consequently, Increasing the gas limit carries the risk that the weaker nodes are excluded from the network because they can no longer process transactions. “This is why the limit is being raised conservatively, generally this is done later to achieve some results in terms of optimizing customer implementations,” added.

The last time the gas limit was raised from 8 to 10 million in September 2019.

Alternative solutions

Buterin suggested Change gas prices in some types of calculations, such as B. Base transaction costs and storage operations to effectively increase capacity by approximately 20%, Yet, This would require a network fork, which he believes is more complex because miners have the option to agree to a new limit.

Other they suggested Expect more definitive solutions like Ethereum 1.x or even Ethereum 2.0. that focuses on improving scalability, Both are still slowly developing and the network can lose ground if it is waiting for them.

Studies that Buterin published in 2018 say this Ethereum has a fairly high demand elasticityThis shows that the network usage decreased in situations of high congestion.

Should the limit be increased?

Bukov is convinced that the time has come for a further increase:

“I think in 8 months there have been a sufficient number of customer launches with the necessary optimizations, and a network with 12 million (fuel cap) is certainly ready and it would be great to test the full 15 million.”

However, this decision must be approved by the wider Ethereum community, customer developers, miners, and DApps manufacturers..