The Ethereum Mainnet is set to undergo a major upgrade that will potentially make transactions on layer-2 networks faster and cheaper.
Ethereum developers revealed this week that the next major upgrade to the network, dubbed Dencun, is set to go live on March 13, 2024. The provided timeline comes after a lengthy period of testing the upgrade on various testnets, including the Holesky testnet, earlier this week.
Almost 2 years later, protodanksharding is finally slotted to go live on Ethereum Mainnet March 13th! 🎉 https://t.co/Kz9QkUWMMH
— liam.eth (@liamihorne) February 9, 2024
While Ethereum has rolled out several upgrades throughout the year, the Dencun upgrade is one of the first designed to optimize layer-2 networks built on top of the mainnet. Precisely, the upgrade includes EIP-4844 which rolls out “proto-danksharding,” a feature that makes L2s such as Optimism and Arbitrum faster.
The feature achieves the desired results by simplifying the data verification process for transactions on these networks.
Originally, L2s bundle several transactions that take place on the layer into one that was executed on the Ethereum chain. However, the requirement that these transactions be posted on-chain still means that L2 users may incur significant fees over time.
Proto-danksharding promises to bring more efficiency to this transaction verification process. Instead of posting data directly on the chain, danksharding uses so-called blobs attached to other transactions being posted on Ethereum.
The data is only stored temporarily, freeing up more space on the chain and ensuring fees are getting to the barest minimum.
In theory, Proto-danksharding at full capacity will enable L2s to handle as many as 100,000 transactions per second. At this time, throughput on L2s remains low while fees remain high when compared to well-optimized L1 solutions like Solana.
Ethereum’s Staked Value Hits New High
The upcoming Dencun upgrade provides an opportunity for the Ethereum community to reflect on previous network upgrades like the Shanghai upgrade in April 2023, which allowed ETH stakers to withdraw assets for the first time.
Since the upgrade, the value of ETH staked on the network has reached new highs. At the time of writing, around 29.7 million ETH ($73 billion), the equivalent of 20% of the Ether supply, is staked. The network also boasts 930,000 validators, making it the most valuable and decentralized Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain in the industry.