Ethereum’s Blobs: A Milestone in Scaling and Future Development, According to Vitalik Buterin


Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin discusses Dencun hard fork activation and blobs’ impact on ecosystem, discussing Ethereum’s long-term scaling roadmap and future direction.

In a recent post on his website, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin delves into the activation of the Dencun hard fork and the introduction of blobs on the Ethereum network. Buterin explains that the activation of this hard fork represents a crucial turning point in Ethereum’s scaling efforts.

Blobs, also known as proto-danksharding or EIP-4844, have brought about a significant reduction in transaction fees for rollups. Initially, blobs were almost free, resulting in a drastic decrease in fees. However, as the blobscriptions protocol began utilizing them, their volume increased, and the fee market was activated. Despite not being entirely free, blobs remain considerably cheaper than calldata.

This milestone signifies a shift in Ethereum’s scaling strategy from addressing a “zero-to-one” problem to a “one-to-N” problem. While further work will be done to increase blob count and optimize rollups’ utilization of each blob, the fundamental changes to Ethereum’s scaling paradigm are mostly behind us. The focus is now gradually shifting from layer one (L1) concerns such as proof-of-stake (PoS) and scaling to application-layer challenges.

Buterin explores the future of Ethereum scaling, highlighting the transition towards a layer two (L2)-centric ecosystem. Major applications are already migrating from L1 to L2, and payments are increasingly being conducted on L2 by default. Wallets are also adapting to this multi-L2 environment, enhancing the user experience.

A crucial aspect of Ethereum’s rollup-centric roadmap is the concept of separate data availability space (DAS). This dedicated section within a block allows layer two projects like rollups to store data independently from the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Buterin explains that while EIP-4844 does not directly enable data availability sampling (DAS), it lays the groundwork for its implementation. With DAS, the blob space can be expanded significantly, aiming for 16 MB per slot.

Moving forward, two key areas of development will shape Ethereum’s future. The first involves progressively increasing blob capacity to realize the full potential of DAS. The second focuses on enhancing L2 protocols to maximize the utilization of available data space. Buterin suggests the introduction of PeerDAS, a simplified version of DAS, and the exploration of techniques like data compression and optimistic data approaches to improve L2 scalability.

Additionally, Buterin emphasizes the importance of addressing execution-related constraints and improving security in L2 protocols. While progress has been made, more work is needed to ensure the robustness and protection of rollups. Stricter standards and security councils are proposed as potential solutions to enhance the reliability of L2 implementations.

In conclusion, the activation of the Dencun hard fork and the introduction of blobs signal a significant milestone in Ethereum’s scaling efforts. Buterin’s post provides insights into the future direction of Ethereum’s development, focusing on L2-centric solutions, data availability sampling, and the continuous improvement of L2 protocols. As the Ethereum ecosystem continues to evolve, these advancements pave the way for a more scalable and secure blockchain platform.

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