Ethereum developers, node operators and users have yet to agree on Vitalik Buterin’s recent suggestion to increase the gas limit on Ethereum.
On Jan. 11, Buterin advocated for a “modest” 33% gas limit increase to potentially improve network throughput.
Increasing the gas limit to the proposed 40 million from the current 30 million would allow more transactions for each block, theoretically increasing the overall throughput and capacity of the network, he argued.
However, there are some drawbacks, according to Ethereum developer Marius van der Wijden, who aired his concerns in a Jan. 11 blog post titled “Why increasing the gas limit is difficult.”
The primary concern would be the increase in the size of the blockchain state, which contains account balances and smart contract data.
The total space needed right now is roughly 267 gigabytes (GB) only for the state, he said, adding, “If we increase the gas limit, this size will grow even quicker.”
The Ethereum blockchain full history data size is currently around 900GB, according to Blockchair.
Wijden argued that storage is cheap, so size is not the issue, and everyone will be able to store that amount of data, “however, accessing and modifying it will become slower and slower,” before adding there are “no concrete solutions yet for state growth.”
Moreover, higher limits also raise synchronization times and make building diverse clients harder, he added.
I wrote down some of my thoughts on raising the gas limit today: https://t.co/gX0eihUyYa
(Haven’t proof-read it, so if you find a mistake, you can keep it)
— MariusVanDerWijden (@vdWijden) January 11, 2024
Gnosis co-founder Martin Köppelmann also aired concerns, stating there would also be an increase in bandwidth should the gas limit be raised.
Ethereum team lead Péter Szilágyi was another who echoed concerns about increasing gas limits.
“Increasing it definitely has a downside. State will grow faster, sync time will get slower quicker, DoS potential will grow.”
The gas limit refers to the maximum amount of work and gas spent executing Ethereum transactions or smart contracts in each block. It is set to ensure that blocks are not too large, which would impact network performance and synchronization.
Potential solutions include upgrades like EIP-4444 tackling chain history expiration and EIP-4844 for rollup data availability using “blobs,” which will help curb long-term growth trends.
Related: Big changes coming to Ethereum’s account abstraction to save on gas
Software developer Micah Zoltu replied to Vitalik’s Reddit post, saying that the goal should be enabling real-world users to run Ethereum nodes on their everyday machines. However, this will be a greater challenge as the state and full blockchain size grows over time.
“Our goal should not be to ensure that you can run an Ethereum node on an $X machine. It should be that demographic X can run an Ethereum node,” he said.
Magazine: ‘Account abstraction’ supercharges Ethereum wallets: Dummies guide
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