Ethereum Foundation Sets Date for Dencun Upgrade
Dencun, the long-awaited latest upgrade to the Ethereum network, will go live in the Ethereum mainnet on March 13. The upgrade will introduce proto-danksharding, reduce transaction costs, and improve the overall performance of the network.
The date of the launch was decided in a call with developers last Thursday, only one day after the upgrade was deployed to the Holesky testnet. The upgrade is part of the “The Surge” era, whose goal is to see the network handle over 100,000 transactions per second on rollups.
By popular demand, an updated roadmap diagram for 2023! pic.twitter.com/oxo58A2KuG
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 30, 2023
Once the current era finishes, the Ethereum team will switch its efforts to mitigating centralization concerns. These come from the risks inherent to the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism Ethereum implemented years ago.
Lower Fees for More Scalability
Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4844 (EIP-4844) is one of the most anticipated features included in the Dencun upgrade. The proposal introduces “Shard Blob Transactions”, also known as Proto-Danksharding, so the network accepts transactions with the ability to contain large amounts of data.
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By allowing persistent blobs of data to be stored in the network, Ethereum makes it easier for rollups to interact with the ecosystem. As “the only trustless scaling solution for Ethereum”, ensuring rollups can offer lower fees is essential, especially since full data sharing won’t be coming any time soon.
High gas prices have been a major concern for the Ethereum community, as these prevent regular users from interacting with Layer1. While rollups like Arbitrum have helped, transaction fees still remain considerably higher than those of other networks, especially at times of high demand.
EIP-4844 is expected to reduce fees now “by orders of magnitude”, all without having to sacrifice decentralization. The team believes this will allow the network to remain competitive and increase scalability by ensuring Rollups remain viable scalability vehicles.
Ethereum Staking Reaches Major Milestone
News of the upcoming upgrade was not the only reason for the Ethereum community to rejoice. Data shows that over 25% of the total ETH supply has been staked at the time of writing, with 31% of it having been staked through Lido and 14.4 through Coinbase.
With more than 943k validators helping secure the network and the equivalent of $73.2 staked, this represents a major milestone for Ethereum. The numbers show positive sentiment among investors and validators, indicating strong confidence in Ethereum’s future.
This sentiment is reflected by ETH’s performance over the past weeks, as the token has gone through a 5.5% gain over the past week and 9.4% over the past two. While these two are similar to the gains seen by BTC during the same period, Ethereum has been able to sustain a gain of 7% over the past month, compared to BTC’s 3% loss.
Making Ethereum Accessible to Developers
Despite being one of the most popular networks for developers in the blockchain space, Ethereum hasn’t necessarily been the most accessible. This is not a matter of developers being barred from contributing to the ecosystem but because of the complexities of the development process.
The Ethereum Foundation launched the Ethereum Protocol Fellowship (EPF) program in 2021. The program was designed to onboard developers and help them “dive deep into the protocol” while learning by doing. Now, the foundation has gone one step further by launching the EPF study group (EPFsg), which is a precursor to the EPF program.
The EPFsg takes place over 10 weeks and helps participants understand topics such as protocol design, testing methods, and research and roadmap items like Verkle trees. The program is open and only requires part-time commitment, starting on February 19 of this year.
ETH prices are also screaming higher. While there will be bumps along the road, 2024 looks great for Ethereum both in terms of development, and price.