Vitalik Says Ethereum Will Focus On Scalability Post-Shapella

Next Major Upgrade Is Expected In Early 2024

By: Samuel Haig Loading...

Vitalik Says Ethereum Will Focus On Scalability Post-Shapella

With the “Shapella” upgrades in the rear-view window, Ethereum’s developers will now prioritize delivering significant improvements to scalability, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin said in a livestream preceding the highly-anticipated forks.

Ethereum’s Shanghai and Capella forks, known as Shapella, went live on Wednesday at epoch 194,048, allowing Ethereum stakers to withdraw their Ether for the first time. The event was the network’s first major upgrade since The Merge transitioned Ethereum to Proof of Stake consensus last September.

“The Shapella upgrade closes the loop on some things that are part of the PoS transition but did not make it in time for the merge, withdrawals obviously being really important,” Buterin said during an Ethereum Foundation livestream.”The immediate next focus after this… is going to be scaling.”

Buterin warned that without improved scalability, a spike in on-chain activity could result in Ethereum users having to cough up hundreds of dollars for transaction fees just to transact on-chain, as frequently occurred during the previous bull cycle.

“If we don’t fix scaling before the next bull run, people are going to be stuck paying $500 transaction fees”

Vitalik Buterin

Scaling Ethereum

Buterin confirmed that Ethereum’s next hard fork, rumored to take place sometime around the start of 2024, will include EIP-4844, also known as proto-danksharding.

Researchers say EIP-4844 will dramatically improve the scalability of Layer 2 rollups by replacing “calldata” with data “blobs,” which are less blockspace-intensive for the network to process. Buterin described minimizing transaction data as “the primary bottleneck” for scaling rollups.

Buterin said proto-danksharding could deliver a 10x improvement in scalability, adding that development towards EIP-4844 “is moving forward quickly.” He added that the upgrade paves the way for full sharding.

Buterin also praised Ethereum’s Layer 2 teams for their progress over the past 12 months, noting the launch of zkEVMs from Polygon and Matter Labs, and the impressive growth of Arbitrum and Optimism.

Relative Stability

Looking ahead, Buterin said Ethereum is still in the throes of its most disruptive upgrades, predicting the network will enter a period of relative stability once Ethereum’s scalability roadmap is complete.

“After this [next] fork is done, and then after scaling is done, we’re in a stage where the hardest and fastest parts of the Ethereum protocol’s transition are essentially over,” Buterin said. “Various things will need to be done, but those… things can be safely done at a slower pace.”

While speaking at a conference in Paris on July 21, 2022, Buterin said Ethereum’s transition to Proof of Stake would usher in a temporary phase of turbulent changes.

“At some point, the rate of change of the Ethereum protocol is going to have to [slow down],” Buterin said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that Ethereum ossifies completely, but it does mean that it looks somewhat more like a system that optimizes for safety and predictability, and less like an ecosystem that optimizes for impressing and dazzling people.”