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Vitalik Buterin Calls for Ethereum Multidimensional Gas Despite Low Fees of 7.3 Gwei

Last Updated May 9, 2024 3:29 PM
Shraddha Sharma
Last Updated May 9, 2024 3:29 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin suggests the adoption of a multi-dimensional gas system.
  • The recommendation comes despite the currently low gas fees of 7.3 Gwei. 
  • Buterin’s initiative is driven by the need to address potential scalability and efficiency challenges after future network growth. 

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin explained  the implementation of a multi-dimensional gas system in a recent blog post. The proposal comes even though current Ethereum gas fees are relatively low at 7.3 Gwei.

With previous and upcoming Ethereum upgrades, Buterin seems to be focusing on tackling potential scalability and efficiency challenges. These challenges could arise as the network grows. Therefore, it looks like the new system is not a reaction to fees after the Dencun upgrade, but a longer-term plan.

Current Gas Fees and Future Method

The current average gas price on Ethereum has decreased, currently at 7.389 gwei, down from 103.19 gwei in 2023. This reduction in fees might suggest that the network is operating efficiently under the existing conditions. 

Ethereum Gas | Source:yCharts
Ethereum Average Gas Price | Source:yCharts 

However, Buterin proposes changes not merely in response to current network conditions but to address potential inefficiencies. Future scalability would demand increased performance as network usage increases.

Buterin explains that Ethereum uses a unified resource metric, “gas,” to measure and price the computational resources consumed by each transaction. While this one-dimensional approach simplifies the transaction fee calculation and market design, it also has significant inefficiencies. 

The gas cost is broken down into various components: a basic fee for initiating the transaction, additional fees for the data included in the transaction, charges for accessing and modifying stored data, and so forth.

According to the co-founder, the primary issue is the assumption that different computational resources are interchangeable, which isn’t the case. The existing system could lead to underutilization or congestion, as it cannot distinguish between the differing demands placed on various network resources.

To address these issues, Buterin introduces the concept of a multi-dimensional gas system. A multi-dimensional gas system would allow for the separate tracking and pricing of distinct resources such as computation, storage, and data transmission. According to Buterin, the approach could more accurately reflect the real consumption and demand on the network, potentially leading to increased efficiency and reduced congestion. The developer says that the idea is to move away from a system where all resources are lumped together into one cost metric, calling it inefficient resource allocation.

Implementation of Multi-Dimensional Gas Fees

Buterin points out that Ethereum is already making strides toward this new model with the implementation of EIP-4844, which introduces “blobs” — a form of rollup-friendly data storage within blocks that have distinct prices and limits. 

EIP-4844 is part of the Dencun upgrade, which reduced the cost of rollups, boosted their transaction volume, and only slightly increased the maximum block size.

The standard separates the pricing of data storage from other types of gas costs. As a result, it allows for more granular resource management. The EIP-4844 mechanism adjusts prices using a formula that targets average usage, helping maintain a balance between demand and block capacity.

Buterin also circles the concept of stateless clients, which verify blockchain states without local data storage. These clients depend on efficient and fast storage proofs, which the current Merkle Patricia trees don’t optimally support. The shift to Verkle trees, and potentially later to STARKs and binary Merkle trees, aims to improve this drawback.

Buterin also explores re-pricing storage access to ensure network safety without making applications prohibitively expensive. For this, he advocates for multi-dimensional gas to manage different resources effectively.

Ethereum Gas Structure | Vitalik Buterin Blog
Ethereum Gas Structure | Source: Vitalik Buterin’s Blog

Buterin believes that the proposed multi-dimensional gas system would not only address the inefficiencies of the current model but also prepare Ethereum for future growth.

The co-founder underlines that the proposed EIP-7623 modifies the pricing to include a “floor price.” The standard ensures transactions are charged the higher of a base computation cost or a heightened data cost.

This can potentially lead to greater scalability by allowing the network to handle a larger variety of transaction types and volumes without a corresponding increase in overall fees or congestion. Additionally, the system can reportedly provide a more flexible framework for managing network resources as new technologies emerge.

However, this would require significant changes to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and its transaction handling.

Buterin’s Future Demand Approach 

Even with current low gas fees, the move towards a multi-dimensional gas system seems like a proactive approach to network management. The Ethereum community anticipates that future demand will lead to potential bottlenecks.

multi-dimensional gas structure aims to enhance the network’s capability to evolve with growing and diversifying user demands. And if the community approves, it could ensure that Ethereum remains efficient and scalable.

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