Buterin’s proposal comes after nearly three years of the gas limit remaining unchanged, marking the longest period of stability in the protocol’s history.
Buterin’s Gas Limit Increase Proposal
During the 11th AMA organized by the Ethereum Foundation’s Research Team, Vitalik Buterin proposed a “modest” gas limit increase. He calculated that this adjustment should raise the current gas limit of 30 million to around 40 million. While seemingly moderate, this increase carries significant implications for Ethereum’s network performance.
The significance of the gas limit
The Ethereum gas limit refers to the maximum amount of gas that can be expended on executing transactions or smart contracts within each block. Gas is the fee required for conducting any transaction or executing a contract on the Ethereum blockchain.
Setting a gas limit ensures that blocks do not become excessively large, which could negatively impact network performance and synchronization. Validators can dynamically adjust the gas limit within predefined parameters as they produce new blocks.
Impact on Ethereum network throughput and capacity
The proposed gas limit increase of 33% holds the potential to significantly enhance Ethereum’s network throughput and capacity. By allowing more transactions to be included in each block, the network can theoretically process more transactions per unit of time.
This change could address the ongoing congestion and high gas fees that users have been facing.
However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the potential challenges associated with increasing the gas limit. While this move can enhance transaction throughput, it also imposes heavier loads on network hardware.
Additionally, there is an increased risk of network spam and potential security vulnerabilities, as attackers may exploit the larger block size to mount various attacks.
Current gas fees and trends
Currently, average gas prices on the Ethereum network stand at approximately 35 gwei or $1.89, according to Etherscan. Gas fees have been on the rise since the beginning of 2024, particularly for complex smart contract operations.
In May 2023, during the inscriptions craze, network gas fees reached a high of 150 gwei, underscoring the importance of addressing scalability issues and gas limitations.
Ethereum’s scalability challenges have been a recurring topic of discussion within the cryptocurrency community. High gas fees and network congestion have raised concerns among users and developers alike.
November 2023 witnessed another surge in gas fees, reigniting the scalability debate as users grappled with the impact on transaction costs and overall network performance.