- Ethereum core developers have set tentative dates to roll out the Dencun upgrade on key testnets.
- The move follows promising results observed during a Goerli shadow fork.
- The upgrade introduces a feature that kicks off Ethereum’s danksharding roadmap.
After an extended period of delays, the once seemingly distant Ethereum Dencun upgrade now appears within reach. Doubling down on resolutions from a previous meeting, core Ethereum developers have now set tentative dates for the upgrade rollout on several key testnets, which signals increased conviction in an early 2024 mainnet release.
Ethereum Core Devs Propose Dates Goerli, Sepolia, and Holesky Forks
In a meeting on December 7, Ethereum developers had hinted at the possibility of rolling out the Dencun upgrade on Goerli, the soon-to-be-phased-out testnet for staking infrastructure and other protocol-level iterations, in January 2024, basing the projection on the outcome of a planned shadow fork.
In the most recent and final All Core Developers Execution (ACDE) call for 2023, held on Thursday, December 21, developers disclosed that the Goerli shadow fork had proceeded smoothly. This is according to Ethereum Foundation Protocol Support member Tim Beiko, who shared updates from the meeting in an X thread on Thursday.
“Post-Dencun the network was at 99% participation rate. With things stable, the teams started spamming the network with blobs, aiming for an average of 4 per blocks but the network stabilized around 3, as intended,” Beiko wrote.
Following the promising results of the shadow forks, Ethereum developers now seem more assured of their earlier estimations and have set tentative dates to start testing out the Dencun upgrade on Goerli, Sepolia (the main testnet for DApps, smart contract and EVM functionality), and Holesky (Ethereum’s largest testnet and Goerli’s replacement).
As outlined by Beiko, in the absence of any unforeseen issues, developers agree that the update schedule for the testnets will be as follows:
- January 17, 6:32 UTC for Goerli.
- January 30, 22:51:12 UTC for Sepolia.
- February 7, 11:34:24 UTC for Holesky.
The developer noted that the Ethereum mainnet would follow right after the testnet forks, strengthening the possibility of a Q1 2024 release.
The First Step in the Danksharding Roadmap
The most anticipated feature of the Dencun upgrade is EIP-4844, also known as proto-danksharding. The feature promises to make transactions on Layer 2 chains cheaper by introducing blobs to allow for faster and cheaper data processing and storage on the mainnet.
Proto-danksharding represents the first step in the danksharding roadmap, which intends to address Ethereum’s scalability concerns by splitting the network into small pieces (shards) that run in parallel.
Proto-danksharding was initially scheduled to go live with the Shapella upgrade in April 2023, only to be excluded due to technical difficulties and a desire not to delay staked ETH withdrawals. The Dencun upgrade itself was initially slated to go live in Q4 2023; however, in September 2023, developers warned that it could face delays.
On the Flipside
- The outlined dates are subject to change should unforeseen challenges arise during testing.
- The full danksharding vision is still years away.
Why This Matters
The tentative dates set by developers suggest that the Dencun upgrade will likely make it to the Ethereum mainnet in Q1 2024.
Read this for more on previous Dencun delays:
Ethereum’s Next Major Upgrade Likely to Be Delayed: Core Devs
Learn more about the first Polygon CDK Layer 2 chain to go live:
First Polygon CDK Layer 2 Goes Live, Promising Airdrops