Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency, has been one of the most hyped topics of 2020 especially because of the onset of several new DeFi projects. However, the increased use saw the network fees, referred to as gas, reach new all-time highs with miners earning a record $500,000 in fees in an hour.
Recently, an Ethereum All Core Devs call was held on September 4 to discuss how on this matter. The topic of discussion included factors related to the high gas fees and how this issue could be handled.
Alexey Akhunov, an independent Ethereum researcher, started the discussion talking about gas tokens and how they can push gas prices higher than usual.
Talking about mempool he highlighted how it is often filled with transactions bidding a certain gas price to mint these tokens, and compared it to order book exchanges where traders look for dips with low price orders.
He stated that since bidding orders can’t be canceled easily, prices remain high as a result as any dip is bought by default.
A proposal to remove the refund mechanism that is one of the unique factors of gas tokens was briefly discussed, but Akhunov stated that the magnitude of gas token minting only accounts for about 2% of current gas usage.
This means that any negative contributions this system might have is limited in size, however, he added that he might need to look at some more data before formally discussing the removal of this mechanism.
Ethereum Improvement Proposals
The meeting also discussed the recent introduction of the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP)-2929 which is backed by co-founder Vitalik Buterin and core developer Martin Swende, and substantially increases gas fees.
However, this is a move to protect the network against potential Denial of Service attacks and some of the changes could actually make some operations cheaper, but Akhunov remained skeptical about some of the complex changes and exemptions that this proposal included.
The EIP that is expected to have the greatest impact on general user experience is EIP – 2711. The proposal lets one account pay for another account’s transaction fees, create batched transactions that guarantee execution in the order of submission, and add an automatic time limit for transactions hitting the mempool.
The latter might also help save on gas fees as this mechanism is already being implemented on platforms like Uniswap, according to developer Micah Zoltu.
Executing this via smart contracts means that the transaction will still be included as a failed transaction, while under this proposal it would simply be removed after expiry.
The proposal, however, has only been discussed on an introductory level and no official decisions have been made so far. These changes are expected to be a part of the Berlin hard fork, which has been delayed for a while.
As of now, users will have to continue dealing with high fees.