- Vitalik Buterin and the Ethereum Foundation explore ways to reduce Ethereum’s maximum block size.
- Goal: optimize the blockchain for a “rollup-centric roadmap”.
- Five proposed solutions involve increasing gas costs and disincentivizing call data use.
Ethereum is exploring ways to optimize its blockchain for a “rollup-centric” future, focusing on scaling solutions called rollups.
However, the current block size usage isn’t ideal, prompting co-founder Vitalik Buterin and the Ethereum Foundation to propose five solutions to reduce the maximum block size.
The Challenge: Block Space Optimization
With rollups handling most transactions off-chain, Ethereum aims to use its main chain for data availability and security.
The effective block size has doubled in the past year, raising concerns about inefficient space usage. This growth is attributed to rollups using Ethereum for data availability and trends like “Inscriptions.”
“By increasing the block gas limit and the price for nonzero calldata bytes, a smaller and less variable block size can be achieved, making space to add more blobs in the future.”
A simple solution proposed by Buterin and Wahrstätter raises the cost of calldata (data sent to smart contracts) from 16 to 42 gas, reducing the maximum block size from 1.78 megabytes to 0.68 megabytes.
This balances the approach by increasing calldata costs while decreasing costs for other operations within the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
Inspired by EIP-4488, this solution sets a limit on calldata per block but risks disincentivizing data availability use and impacting dependent applications.
Similar to how data blobs are handled, this creates a separate market for calldata pricing based on demand, offering flexibility but increasing implementation complexity.
EVM Loyalty Bonus- This compensates applications heavily reliant on Calldata to mitigate the impact of other solutions.
“A balanced solution could be to increase the cost of calldata while reducing the cost of some operations, or perhaps moving towards a model that offers incentives for using calldata inside the EVM.”
Finding the Right Balance
The blog post by Buterin and Wahrstätter acknowledges that simply raising the calldata cost might be too drastic, while separate fee markets introduce complexity. They suggest a balanced approach like increasing calldata cost with reduced operation costs or exploring EVM-based incentives.
Previous Proposals and the Road Ahead
This discussion follows Buterin’s 2021 proposal for calldata limits and his January suggestion to raise the gas limit by 33%. The Ethereum community will likely engage in further discussions and analysis to find the optimal solution for optimizing block size within the rollup-centric roadmap.