The Ethereum co-founder has filed a proposal for a new limit to the total transaction calldata contained in a block, which, when implemented, would drastically reduce gas costs incurred from Layer 2 scaling solutions.
The new Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP-4488) is set to emphasize the role of Layer 2 Rollups, while also acknowledging its limitations and contradictions. According to Buterin, there is a significant concern regarding the implementation and deployment of data sharding. Buterin describes the proposal’s solution for this as being possible through a transition for the Ethereum ecosystem to a “rollup-centric” design which would be incentivized as processed.
“[The proposal] would increase the maximum block size to 10M bytes and push the Ethereum p2p networking layer to unprecedented levels of strain and risk breaking the network.”
Buterin’s proposal is issued with a call to decrease cost and cap for the network, with the aim of achieving the goal of reducing risks and strains corollary to the upgrade. Further, Buterin claims that a block size of 1.5 MB should be “sufficient while preventing most of the security risk.”
“It's worth rethinking the historical opposition to multi-dimensional resource limits and considering them as a pragmatic way to simultaneously achieve moderate scalability gains while retaining security.” Buterin opines.
Essentially, the proposal will make rollups cheaper, lowering costs but at least five times the current fee averages. The proposal will also open the Ethereum network to scalability solutions through data availability sampling, while also maintaining network-wide resiliency and uptime.
“A worst-case scenario would be a theoretical long-run maximum of ~1,262,861 bytes per 12 sec slot, or ~3.0 TB per year,” the proposal states.
To date, Layer 2 fees on the Ethereum blockchain cost at least 16 gas. With EIP-4488, this would be reduced to 3 as its minimum base fee. The proposal is crucial for another reason: if voted into implementation, the proposal would require the entire Ethereum network to upgrade on a scheduled block height, a decision that would result in an ecosystem-wide gas repricing that’s backwards-incompatible.
Miners working on the Ethereum network will have to comply and upgrade, but will have no choice but to contend with the new threshold set in place, which means that no additional transactions can be written into a block once the threshold is reached.
“Rollups are in the short and medium term, and possibly the long term, the only trustless scaling solution for Ethereum. Transaction fees on L1 have been very high for months and there is greater urgency in doing anything required to help facilitate an ecosystem-wide move to rollups.” the proposal states.
The Ethereum community is discussing alternatives to the proposal (EIP-4490), with the concept of a “soft limit” being put forward. A soft limit would be flexible according to network flow, but retains the compensation scheme for miners without placing an entirely unmovable threshold.
Notably, despite the inherent design of Layer 2 solutions for scalability, recent block data has shown that the same protocols that were designed to scale and lower gas fees have been incurring higher fees due to network congestion and new user acquisition.
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