EIP 4844: What does Proto-danksharding mean for Ethereum scalability?

Chorus One
Chorus One
February 26, 2024
5 min read
February 26, 2024
5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Ethereum’s next hard fork upgrade is named Cancun-Deneb (Ethereum Dencun) – which is expected to happen on March 13, 2024.
  • Ethereum Dencun Upgrade has been successfully deployed on all the Ethereum testnets, including Goerli, Sepolia, and Holesky; and is now ready to be implemented on the Ethereum mainnet.
  • The Ethereum Dencun upgrade is set to implement the proto-danksharding specification (EIP-4844), breaking down the network into data blobs to bring about increased efficiency on Ethereum, making it more scalable and lowering transaction costs.
  • A whole host of other Ethereum Improvement Protocols are also set to be implemented in this upgrade, like EIP-7044, EIP-7045, and EIP-7514.

Proto-danksharding, blobs, and data availability are terms becoming increasingly familiar in the Ethereum community, all leading up to the Dencun Upgrade – Ethereum's most significant update since Shapella.

With less than a month to the upgrade, Chorus One is here to provide you the essential information about this pivotal event, including three key staking/validator based Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) involved, with a special focus on the much-anticipated EIP-4844.

First, a look back.

In April 2023, we explored the post-Shapella landscape in our blog article "Beyond Shapella," highlighting the significant impact of the Shapella upgrade on Ethereum staking. This upgrade introduced the flexibility to withdraw staked ETH and rewards, captivating institutional interest in Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

The Shapella upgrade marked a turning point, boosting ETH's staking appeal among institutional investors. Since then, Ethereum's roadmap has seen several developments, leading us to the brink of another major milestone - the Dencun upgrade. This forthcoming hard fork is set to advance Ethereum's evolution, promising to tackle existing challenges and open up new opportunities.

In fact, Ethereum jumped 28% since the start of February and rose above $2,900 at the time of writing, as the Dencun upgrade approaches and transaction numbers on L2s climb up.

What is the Dencun Upgrade

The Ethereum Cancun-Deneb (Dencun) Upgrade, scheduled for March 13, 2024, is a pivotal hard fork aimed at enhancing the network's scalability, security, and usability. This upgrade, incorporating key Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) such as EIP-4844 for proto-danksharding, is set to improve network efficiency and lower transaction costs. Building on the achievements of prior updates like the Shanghai upgrade, Dencun seeks to fortify the infrastructure for decentralized applications and elevate the Ethereum user experience.

At its heart, the Dencun Upgrade integrates advancements from the Cancun upgrade on the execution layer with those from the Deneb upgrade on the consensus layer, employing a dual approach to refine Ethereum's protocol rules and block validation procedures. The inclusion of various Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), especially Proto-Danksharding, is geared towards enhancing scalability from different dimensions.

Additionally, the upgrade will introduce a series of other EIPs, including EIP-4788, EIP-6780, and EIP-5656. While this article will concentrate on the most crucial proposal, EIP 4844: Protodanksharding, it will also touch upon three staking and validator-centric improvements within the Dencun Upgrade: EIP-7044, EIP-7045, and EIP-7514.

EIP 7044: Perpetually Valid Signed Voluntary Exits

The introduction of EIP-7044 marks a significant advancement: exit messages will have indefinite validity, removing the need for continual updates and ensuring a smoother withdrawal process. This EIP specifically targets the challenge posed by the limited lifespan of signed voluntary exit messages, simplifying the staking landscape, especially in cases where the staking operators and fund owners are not the same.

TL;DR: EIP-7044 makes it easier to withdraw staked funds by ensuring that exit requests don't expire. This removes the hassle of having to update these requests regularly, especially helpful when the staking operators and fund owners are different.

EIP 7045:  Increase max attestation inclusion slot

EIP-7045 modifies the timeline for attestations, extending the inclusion period from one rolling epoch to two fixed epochs. This adjustment gives validators additional time to incorporate their attestations into a block, thereby enhancing the security and stability of Ethereum's Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. The expansion of maximum attestation slots contributes to quicker block confirmations and bolsters the consensus mechanism's resistance to short-term censorship attempts.

TL;DR: EIP-7045 changes how long validators have to get their approvals into a block, extending it from one flexible time period to two set time periods. This extra time helps make Ethereum's system for confirming transactions more secure and stable, speeds up the process of confirming blocks, and makes it harder for anyone to temporarily block or censor transactions.

EIP-7514: Add max epoch churn limit

EIP-7514 proposes to change how fast new validators can join the Ethereum network. Instead of the current system where the number of new validators can grow quickly (exponentially) because the amount of new validators accepted also grows, this proposal suggests a steady (linear) increase by setting a limit of 8 new validators per epoch (~6.4 minutes). This means no matter how many people want to become validators and how big the active set grows, only 8 will be able to  join in each epoch. This approach aims to make the network more manageable, especially when a lot of people are waiting to stake their ETH. It helps prevent the network from getting overloaded and keeps everything running smoothly.

TL;DR: EIP-7514 plans to limit the number of new validators joining the Ethereum network to 8 every 6.4 minutes. This change aims to control growth and prevent the system from becoming overloaded, ensuring it runs smoothly even when many people want to stake their ETH.

4844: Proto-danksharding - All you need to know

EIP-4844, known as Proto-Danksharding, is a key update to Ethereum that introduces a new type of transaction called "blobs", for better data storage efficiency. This allows for more cost-effective data posting to the Ethereum mainnet by Rollup sequencers, without overloading the network, due to the controlled size and quantity of blobs in each block. The innovative aspect is the temporary storage of blob data in Ethereum's consensus layer, not its execution layer, which boosts scalability while keeping the network decentralized. Proto-danksharding sets the stage for further scalability enhancements, such as full Danksharding, by improving gas consumption and network resource management.

Benefits of proto-danksharding
  • Layer 2 rollups, the key users of proto-danksharding, consolidate several transactions into one for storing on Ethereum, but currently incur high expenses due to the cost of calldata.

Proto-danksharding allows these rollups to employ data blobs for posting grouped transactions more affordably, greatly decreasing operational expenses and enhancing scalability.

  • Proto-danksharding harmonizes network efficiency with decentralization. It maintains data blobs as temporary and restricts their size, ensuring that smaller, individual node operators can continue to contribute to the network.
  • The introduction of data blobs in Ethereum boosts the network's throughput by allowing more data to be included in each block without overwhelming the system. This enhancement enables Ethereum to support a greater number of transactions, users, and decentralized applications (dApps), thereby expanding its overall capacity.

Chorus One’s role in the Dencun Hardfork

The Dencun upgrade is set to significantly enhance Ethereum's appeal, making it more attractive for developers, builders, and investors, by boosting transaction efficiency and cutting costs.

At Chorus One, we've been diligently preparing for this upgrade, ensuring our clients and software are updated in a timely manner to prevent any impact on our users. Our proactive approach underscores our dedication to facilitating a smooth transition and maintaining strong staking support after the upgrade.

About Chorus One

Chorus One is one of the biggest institutional staking providers globally operating infrastructure for 50+ Proof-of-Stake networks, including Ethereum, Cosmos, Solana, Avalanche, and Near, amongst others. Since 2018, we have been at the forefront of the PoS industry and now offer easy enterprise-grade staking solutions, industry-leading research, and also invest in some of the most cutting-edge protocols through Chorus Ventures.

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