- Ethereum sharding promises to scale the Ethereum network significantly.
- Proto-danksharding, the first upgrade in the sharding roadmap, introduces a new concept called blobs.
- This article explains what blobs are and how they improve Ethereum’s scalability.
Several years later, scalability remains a major pain point for the Ethereum network. Multiple solutions have been proposed to solve this problem, including sharding the network.
Sharding involves splitting the Ethereum network into smaller units that act as smaller blockchains secured by a rotating set of validators, lightening the cost of storing data on the blockchain. While having the potential to improve the scalability of the network exponentially, sharding requires multiple complex upgrades, which can be risky if done all at once.
Enter proto-danksharding, also known as EIP-4844. Proto-danksharding introduces most of the changes needed for actual sharding without sharding the network. The core part of this upgrade introduces a new concept called blobs, from which the alternative name Shard Blob Transactions is derived. In this article, DailyCoin explores blobs and how they help scale the Ethereum network.
What Is an Ethereum Blob?
Blobs are inexpensive and temporary memory carrying data about transactions, called blob-carrying transactions. These blobs are designed to make the verification of these transactions more efficient.
Instead of verifying each transaction in the block, the network will only have to confirm that the blob attached to the block carries the correct data. The transactions in these blob-carrying blocks will typically be related to Layer 2 networks, like Optimism, which stores data on Ethereum to share in its security guarantees. The temporary nature of these blobs ensures that they do not perpetually occupy space on the Ethereum network.
What Does This Mean for Ethereum Scalability?
Most of the fees on Layer 2 networks go to storing data on Ethereum. However, with blobs, the amount of work necessary to keep this data on the Ethereum network is significantly reduced, allowing faster processing and cheaper costs.
With the implementation of EIP-4844, two different fee marketplaces will be created, one for Layer 1 execution and another for blobs, as the blob data does not fit into the current Ethereum fee market. While the additional fee market will work like the current fee market in line with EIP-1559, the separation means that congestion on the Ethereum network will not affect fees for blobs, allowing for low fees even during peak network congestion.
The proto-danksharding upgrade, which will introduce blobs, was previously expected later this year with Dencun. But, in a recent call, core developers highlighted that they might be forced to delay the Dencun upgrade till 2024. Following the implementation of EIP-4844 on the Ethereum network, Layer 2 networks will also have to carry out upgrades to support blobs.
On the Flipside
- Ethereum Layer 2 users will feel the most significant effect of introducing blobs.
- Layer 2 networks must still implement separate upgrades to support the new feature.
- Developers assert that full sharding will take years.
Why This Matters
Ethereum’s scalability concerns have long served as a severe bottleneck. Introducing blobs with EIP-4844 takes the network closer to full sharding, which promises to scale the network exponentially while immediately bringing down costs on Layer 2s.
Read this to learn more about Ethereum’s Dencun upgrade:
Ethereum’s Next Major Upgrade Likely to Be Delayed: Core Devs
Worried about the imminent government shutdown. Find out how it would impact crypto:
US Government Shutdown Imminent. How Will It Impact Crypto?