Mantle’s Throughput Peaks At 200 TPS As Inscriptions Expand Across Layer 2s

Inscriptions drove record throughput of roughly 60 TPS over 24 hours on ZkSync Era and Arbitrum

By: Samuel Haig Loading...

Mantle’s Throughput Peaks At 200 TPS As Inscriptions Expand Across Layer 2s

Inscriptions continue to stress-test Ethereum’s Layer 2 ecosystem, with the upstart network Mantle, becoming the latest chain to rival the Ethereum mainnet by throughput amid a flurry of inscription activity.

Data from L2beat shows Mantle’s daily throughput rocketing to 14 transactions per second (TPS) on Dec. 20, compared to 14.4 TPS on Ethereum. The surge beat out Mantle’s previous throughput record by more than triple and comprised a daily uptick of 543%.

Mantle tweeted that its network reached peak intraday throughput of 200 TPS amid the surge in transaction volume without suffering any downtime.

“Mantle Network recorded a spike in on-chain activity due to a surge in inscriptions,” Mantle said. “Sequencer, DA, and explorer fully operational and stable.”

However, Mantle’s inscription party appears to have been short-lived, with daily throughput crashing to just 3 TPS the following day.

Mantle is currently readying to introduce native yield for bridged ETH and stablecoins, inspired by the recent success of Blast — a forthcoming L2 offering yield via Lido and MakerDAO on deposits.

Inscriptions spread onto new networks

Inscriptions have exploded in popularity across new networks over the past two months, with developers deploying inscription protocols on chains supporting Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) smart contracts.

Ordinal inscriptions were pioneered on Bitcoin as a method for creating NFT-like assets without smart contracts in January. Two months later, a pseudonymous developer introduced the BRC-20 standard for creating fungible tokens on the network.

While inscription tokens fell out of fashion in Q3 following an initial speculative frenzy, the sector roared back to contention in the fourth quarter — inspiring developers to launch inscription tokens on new networks.

Proponents argue that inscriptions offer several arguable benefits over NFTs. Inscriptions are created by inscribing data to the smallest denomination of a network token (i.e. Bitcoin satoshis) rather than through smart contracts, meaning token issuers cannot reserve a significant share of supply for themselves. The lack of smart contract execution also means the tokens theoretically offer reduced transaction fees as transactions comprise simple token transfers, but inhibits the composability of inscriptions.

However, fierce competition to mint inscription tokens has driven massive spikes in transaction fees on networks recently onboarding inscription protocols. Fees have recently spiked by thousands of percent on Near, Fantom, and Polygon, while Arbitrum, ZkSync Era, Avalanche, Cronos,The Open Network, andCelestia have suffered outages and congestion amid skyrocketing inscription transactions.

Bitcoin congestion is up more than 52% in two weeks as inscription activity swelled, with 345,000 transactions currently sitting unconfirmed in Bitcoin’s mempool.

Inscriptions stress-test Layer 2s

ZkSync Era and Arbitrum both suffered downtime due to skyrocketing inscription activity on Dec. 16, posting record daily throughput of 62 TPS and 59 TPS respectively. For comparison, the Ethereum mainnet processed just 12.2 TPS on average.

ZkSync posted a post-mortem on Dec. 19, noting that the network consistently handled 150 TPS over a roughly 14-hour period, pushing transaction fees up to $0.12 on average. Users were unable to submit transactions for around 15 minutes amid a database upgrade, while some wallet providers, external RPC endpoints, and the network’s blockchain explorer also experienced issues as they struggled to keep up with the enormous volume of transactions.

A Dec. 20 post-mortem from Arbitrum also attributed its outage to mass inscription minting, with the network undercharging gas fees as transactions piled up. Gas fees quickly spiked to compensate for the deficit, “rendering transactions expensive for most users” as the network stabilized. Aribtrum said it does not anticipate a similar surge in inscription volume will cause downtime again in the future.

Inscriptions accounted for more than 61% of transactions on both Arbitrum and ZkSync over the past seven days, trailing behind Avalanche with 91.6% and the Goerli testnet with 70.4%, according to Dune Analytics.

Inscriptions activity on top EVM networks. Source: Dune Analytics.