- Vitalik Buterin has proposed a new Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) to address the network’s high gas fee problem.
- EIP-4488 aims to add a new limit on the total transaction calldata to reduce transaction costs.
- Some Ethereum devs warn about the far-reaching consequences of the new update.
Vitalik Buterin has proposed a new Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) to address the network’s high gas fee problem.
Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer who co-founded Ethereum back in 2015, has put forward EIP-4488, which aims to add a new limit on the total transaction calldata, where data from external calls to functions are stored, to reduce transaction costs.
On November 24, Buterin took it to GitHub to express his concerns regarding the recent insane transaction costs on the Ethereum network. To tackle this issue, he suggested EIP-4488, claiming that it could “decrease transaction calldata gas cost, and add a limit of how much total transaction calldata can be in a block.”
Scalability is a core problem with Ethereum, which is now home to thousands of decentralized apps (Dapps) but can only process 15 transactions per second. Therefore, fees spike to insane levels at times of high network congestion, which describes why $40 transaction fees have been frequent for the last couple of weeks.
According to data by BitInfoCharts, Ethereum’s average transaction was over $62 on November 9. As of now, the average transaction fee is more than $44, which makes the network too expensive for the mainstream.
Buterin noted that an alternative method to the proposed EIP-4488 update could be simply reducing the calldata gas cost. However, he warned that without putting a limit on the total transaction calldata, there would be the possibility of breaking the network. He said:
Simply decreasing the calldata gas cost from 16 to 3 would increase the maximum block size to 10M bytes. This would push the Ethereum p2p [peer-to-peer] networking layer to unprecedented levels of strain and risk breaking the network; some previous live tests of ~500 kB blocks a few years ago had already taken down a few bootstrap nodes.
Meanwhile, blockchain analysis firm BitMEX Research anticipates the update to reduce data transaction costs by around five times. “This is part of the process to lower the gas cost of data by around 5 times, to make rollups cheaper,” BitMEX tweeted.
Some think layer 2 fees on ETH are too high, because each byte of data a rollup uses cost 16 gas. To lower fees, the gas cost could be reduced to 3. This should be a large benefit, with 5x lower fees. However, in the long term, this may mean blocksize is a new network constraint pic.twitter.com/ffbTQ4zXOz
— BitMEX Research (@BitMEXResearch) November 26, 2021
Concerns Around EIP-4488
Some Etheruem developers have found loopholes at the proposed call data limit, warning about the consequences of the update. For instance, Ethereum developer Alex Krusz has said the update might seem simple, but “it could be argued that the calldata limit is an architectural decision with greater implications than just modifying a gas constant.”
Similarly, Ethereum Core developer Tim Beiko, who took it to Twitter to describe the update, noted that the calldata solution “influences the block sizes on Ethereum,” which could be a challenge. “It’s literally data we add to each transaction. If we lower the gas cost, and keep the same gas limit, we then have bigger blocks, which can be problematic in the short and long term,” Beiko said.