The problem of high gas fees has been hindering for many years now and many developments have been proposed to solve this problem. Some of them are layer 2 solutions, while others are geared towards fundamentally changing the network. For example, EIP-4488 – an upgrade that plans to reduce gas through some interesting mechanisms. This article will explain what EIP-4488 is and how it works.


Ethereum and the gas fee problem

Gas is a fee required to perform transactions and any other actions on the network . Each type of transaction consumes a different amount of gas and is calculated depending on the complexity. Transfer It simply costs less gas than transferring tokens or swap assets at a decentralized exchange () above Ethereum.

Each block in the network has its own gas limit. If the gas limit is exceeded, the block will become invalid. Block gas limits can change over time, depending on many factors. Therefore, transactions do not always end up in the same block at all times.

Miners that verify transactions prioritize the transactions with the highest gas fees. The gas fee acts as a contractor for the block space. When a larger number of users jointly bid on a smaller block, this move can lead to high network fees.

What causes high Ethereum gas fees?

The important aspect to remember is that gas fees are independent of transaction size. They depend on the number of transactions made on the network Ethereum at the same time. For example, if a transaction is processed during busy times, users may have to pay hundreds of dollars just to make the transaction. This is one of the dilemmas of the Ethereum PoW network. Currently, the network can only handle about 30 transactions per second.

During peak hours, users will have to pay higher gas fees to ensure their transactions are processed. If the user does not pay the full gas fee, the transaction fails but the gas fee is still charged.


Average transaction fees on Ethereum | Source: Blockchair

The situation of the Ethereum Network being overloaded with transactions is not uncommon, pushing fees to sky-high levels. One of the first examples of how the Ethereum network could become congested was during the CryptoKitties craze of 2017. The strong boom in 2021 also brought a lot of new users to Ethereum, causing gas fees to skyrocket. This also happens during the launch of projects, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) by Yuga Labs.

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Ethereum Foundation plans to move to in late 2022 and called Ethereum 2.0. The new version will improve the scalability of the network and reduce gas fees. While the community is still eagerly awaiting this repeatedly delayed update, there are many other measures proposed to reduce fees and EIP-4488 is one of them.

What is EIP-4488?

EIP-4488 is an Ethereum Improvement Proposal called “Reducing calldata transaction gas fees with a total calldata limit” introduced by Vitalik Buterin and Ansgar Dietrichs in November 2021. Proposal to focus on reducing transaction costs for Ethereum rollup solutions like , and zkSync.

In this proposal, Buterin and Dietrichs outlined steps to reduce gas without compromising security and a roadmap towards development of Ethereum 2.0.

The main ideas presented in the proposal EIP-4488:

– Group user transactions on layer 2 rollups and send them via “calldata”. The upgrade will reduce the cost of sending calldata to the mainnet, further reducing end-user gas fees.

– Socializing gas fees on multiple transactions will reduce transaction fees 3-8 times. ZK-rollups are 40 to 100 times cheaper than the Ethereum base layer. Buterin believes that increasing data space will "reduce rollup costs by 5 times".

Rollup will be the best solution to scale Ethereum in the short, medium and long term. will scale even more if sharding is added to the network of Ethereum. This will make it easier to do layer 2 rollups and reduce transaction costs.

It is important to keep the block size small so that it is decentralized and anyone can run a node. Currently, Ethereum block sizes are manageable and any upgrade such as EIP-4488 will not increase maintenance costs.

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Note that proposed EIP-4488 does not directly reduce data . However, it does support rollup, which balances out implementation costs while maintaining the same maximum capacity.

Data availability is another serious scaling issue for the Ethereum network. But EIP-4488 solves this problem, because it relieves layer 2 protocols.

Impact of EIP-4488 on the network

EIP-4488 is the predecessor to EIP-4844 and takes a simpler approach to solving the problem of high transaction fees. EIP-4488 introduces two important aspects:

– Gas calldata cost reduced from 16 to 3 gas per byte.

– 1 MB per block and 300 bytes per transaction (up to 1.4 Mb) to minimize security risks.

EIP-4488 mainly focuses on calldata – read-only byte location space where the data parameter of a transaction or instruction is stored.

In other words, EIP-4488 will limit the total number of transactional calldata, where data from external commands to functions is stored, before reducing the cost of gas calldata to eliminate the possibility of network stagnation.

A hard limit is the easiest way to ensure an increase in caseload (workload) doesn't lead to a worst-case load increase. Rollup costs will increase dramatically, increasing the average block size to hundreds of kilobytes. However, the hard limit prevents the worst case scenario of single blocks containing 10 MB. The block size in the worst case will actually be smaller than it is now (1.4 MB vs 1.8 MB).

According to Buterin:

“The gas calldata cost from 16 to 3 will increase the maximum block size to 10M bytes. This will push the Ethereum P2P (peer-to-peer) network layer to unprecedented levels of stress and potentially bring the network to a halt. Some previous live tests of ~500 kB blocks a few years ago took down a few bootstrap nodes.”

He also mentioned that the “proposal to reduce costs and limits” would increase the maximum block size to 1.5 MB – “which would be enough while preventing most security risks”.

Relationship hesitate for EIP-4488

It is important to note that node operators will face increased workloads simply due to increased data capacity. The entire database of would be too much of a burden for most computers to store. However, this problem can be solved with another additional proposal to reduce the block storage responsibility for nodes longer than a year.

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How will EIP-4488 help users?

Proposal EIP-4488 will affect users directly, as it reduces rollup costs and reduces layer 2 gas charges.

EIP-4488 is a short-term solution to Ethereum's high gas fees. Users of layer 2 solutions like and will see a 3–8x reduction in transaction fees. Users of zk-rollups can pay gas fees up to 40–100 times cheaper than Ethereum's base layer.

However, some developers expressed concern about the growing transaction data. The EIP-4488 upgrade implies that the overall block size will increase, which is a problem in the long term. If this upgrade is implemented, the size of the Ethereum blockchain will increase at a rate of 0.1Mb to 0.5Mb per block, 5 times the rate of chain growth. This can cause problems for users who want to become nodes, as they will need better hardware.

Another concern is that upgrading the EIP-4488 may cause additional network limitations. Users need to pay more than high-paying rollup transactions competing for the same calldata space.

EIP-4488: USOne of many strategies to reduce ETH fees

Proposal EIP-4488 was created to reduce transaction costs for rollup protocols built on the Ethereum blockchain. EIP-4488 is an intermediate proposal while the network is waiting for a sharding solution to be introduced via EIP-4844.

However, the main update that everyone is waiting for and is expected to solve the scaling problem of Ethereum is the transition from consensus. PoW to PoS. This update will almost certainly put an end to gas charge issues, so users won't have to wait too long before they get what they want either way.

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