Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and the Ethereum Foundation are exploring five potential solutions to reduce Ethereum’s maximum block size.
These strategies aim to optimize the blockchain for a “rollup-centric roadmap” and enhance its efficiency.
The focus on rollups has prompted the need to reassess block space usage as the effective block size has doubled over the past year.
Optimizing Ethereum’s Block Gas Limit And Call Data Costs
One of the primary proposals put forth by Buterin and Ethereum Foundation researcher Toni Wahrstätter involves raising the cost of call data and increasing the block gas limit.
Calldata refers to the data provided to smart contract function calls and consumes gas, which impacts network performance.
By increasing the call data cost from 16 to 42 gas, Ethereum could reduce the maximum block size from 1.78 megabytes to 0.68 megabytes, creating space for more data blobs in the future.
However, this approach may discourage using call data for data availability, affecting applications like StarkNet that rely on large call data for on-chain proofs.
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Balancing Call Data And Opcode Costs
Another potential solution is to raise call data costs while reducing other opcode costs in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
This approach aims to maintain a balance between incentivizing the use of call data for data availability and minimizing the impact on apps that depend on it heavily.
Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP)-4488 suggests capping call data per block, but this could similarly discourage its use for data availability, impacting call data-dependent applications.
Therefore, finding a balanced approach is crucial.
Creating A Calldata Fee Market
An alternative approach involves establishing a separate call data fee market, similar to how data blobs are managed.
This market would automatically adjust call data prices based on demand, potentially increasing gas limits. However, it introduces complexity in terms of analysis and implementation.
The final idea proposes providing an “EVM loyalty bonus” to compensate applications that rely heavily on call data.
This approach aims to strike a balance between encouraging the use of call data and addressing its cost-related challenges.
These proposals come as Ethereum grapples with the need to enhance its scalability and network performance.
The integration of large data packets, known as blobs, with the EIP-4844 Dencun upgrade, further underscores the importance of optimizing data handling and storage within the Ethereum blockchain.
While raising the call data cost to 42 gas is one approach, it may be considered too blunt, and creating separate fee markets could introduce excessive complexity into the system.
Striking the right balance between call data cost and other operational costs or offering incentives for using call data within the EVM may provide more effective solutions.
Vitalik Buterin had previously suggested call data limits per block to lower gas costs, highlighting the ongoing effort within the Ethereum community to address these issues.
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Impact On Network Throughput
Vitalik Buterin proposed increasing the Ethereum gas limit by 33% to 40 million to enhance network throughput.
Raising the gas limit enables more transactions to be processed in each block, theoretically improving overall network capacity.
However, it also introduces potential risks, such as increased hardware load and susceptibility to network spam and attacks.
The Ethereum Foundation’s exploration of these solutions reflects the ongoing commitment to optimizing the Ethereum network’s performance and scalability.
As the blockchain ecosystem continues to evolve and adapt, finding the right balance between call data cost, gas limit, and network efficiency remains a top priority.