For years, Ethereum developers have been looking for ways to accommodate a growing user base. Major enhancements such as The Merge and rollups have been proposed as part of The Ethereum Upgrades. These modifications have aided Ethereum in increasing transaction throughput and lowering transaction costs.
However, fees remain prohibitively expensive for many, and throughput is not where it should be, slowing the rate of mass adoption. Ethereum’s long-term solution to this problem is data sharding.
What Is EIP-4844?
The Ethereum Improvement Proposal protocol allows developers to suggest new features and solutions for Ethereum. The term “proto-danksharding” refers to two Ethereum researchers, Proto Lambda and Dankrad Feist.
To comprehend EIP-4844, it is necessary first to comprehend sharding. Simply put, it is a method of dividing large databases into smaller ones that manage specific data segments, thereby improving efficiency and performance. When applied to blockchain and particularly Ethereum sharding takes on some distinctive characteristics. Danksharding is a type of sharding that Ethereum intends to implement in order to reduce transaction costs and increase throughput.Danksharding, dubbed the “scalability killer,” is expected to boost Ethereum’s TPS to around 100,000.
Ethereum’s base layer processes around 15 TPS and its layer 2 rollups process around 100 TPS as of Q1 2023. The impact of danksharding is clear: Ethereum will be able to scale up by order of magnitude.
Danksharding is distinct from previous Ethereum and non-Ethereum sharding proposals in that it aims to provide more space for data blobs rather than transactions (more on this later).
Another danksharding innovation is the so-called merged fee market, in which only one proposer chooses transactions for all shards rather than each shard having its own proposer.
How Does EIP-4844 Work?
EIP-4844 introduces a new type of transaction called blob-carrying transactions, which will be similar to regular transactions but will include additional information known as binary large objects.
Ethereum contributor Ben Edgington summarises EIP-4844 with the memorable alliterative phrase, “EIP-4844 bolts blobs onto blocks.” It goes into detail about how blob-carrying transactions use “blobs” attached to blocks to increase the amount of data that blob-carrying blocks can handle.
This may be perplexing because it appears to be akin to increasing block sizes, which contradicts Ethereum’s stance against arbitrarily large blocks, which would necessitate more computing power and could thus lead to centralization.
How Will EIP-4844 Benefit Users?
EIP-4844 is an Ethereum protocol upgrade that is part of the rollup-centric roadmap. EIP-4844 preparations are moving quickly, with some devnets already complete and upgrade specs close to finalization.
EIP-4844 should improve transaction speed and fee affordability for users, primarily by reducing fees and speeding up transactions. If EIP-4844 is successfully implemented, Ethereum will become more competitive in the cryptocurrency market. Some users may be wondering what they should do if they need to recover deleted blob data. Blobs, as previously stated, are stored on the Ethereum consensus layer, which serves as a highly secure real-time bulletin board for the long-term storage of other protocols. As a result, even if blobs are deleted after a few weeks, their data should still be available elsewhere for longer-term storage.
EIP-4844 is a complex Ethereum protocol upgrade that is part of a larger roadmap and is linked to other system upgrades like proposer/builder separation (PBS) and EIP-1559 blob fee adjustment. While understanding EIP-4844 will help average users better prepare for the coming changes, it is important to note that the majority of those changes will be in the form of lower costs and faster transactions.