Decoding Proto-Danksharding (EIP-4844): How Ethereum Is Overcoming Scalability Issues

Proto-Danksharding Explained

100,000 transactions per second on Ethereum? Sounds like a dream for crypto enthusiasts. It may actually come true with the advent of proto-danksharding that promises to significantly scale Ethereum's network to meet and exceed these high-speed demands.

Ethereum continues to evolve, and the blockchain community is waiting with bated breath for the moment when its transaction speed will finally skyrocket. This is promised to happen during the next development phase — the Dencun upgrade, which is a pivotal part of “The Surge” in Ethereum’s roadmap.

Central to this upgrade is the introduction of proto-danksharding. This innovation is designed to tackle one of the most pressing challenges faced by the Ethereum network: scaling efficiently to meet the growing demand for decentralized applications and services.

Let’s delve into what proto-danksharding means, how it differs from sharding and danksharding, how exactly it works, and what it will bring to the table.

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What is danksharding in general?

Danksharding is an advanced scalability solution developed to enhance the performance and efficiency of blockchain networks, particularly Ethereum. It helps address the challenges of low scalability and high transaction costs by improving the network’s capacity to process transactions.

The innovation behind danksharding lies in its approach to partitioning the blockchain into smaller, more manageable pieces called shards, which can process transactions and store data in parallel. This method reduces the burden on any single part of the network, allowing for more transactions to be processed simultaneously without compromising on security or increasing costs.

Danksharding also leverages data availability sampling to ensure that the data necessary for validating transactions is readily available across the network, minimizing the risks of data unavailability and enhancing the integrity of the blockchain.

By integrating these techniques, danksharding represents a pivotal development in blockchain scalability, poised to facilitate faster, more affordable transactions. It is also the ultimate goal of Ethereum — to achieve full danksharding eventually.

Proto-danksharding (EIP-4844) explained

Proto-Danksharding (EIP-4844) in action

Proto-danksharding, or EIP-4844, introduces a new type of transaction that incorporates “blobs” of data. This innovation significantly boosts Ethereum’s capacity to handle larger volumes of transaction data.

Below, we’ll explain this concept in a very simple way.

Imagine you’re sending a huge package through the mail, but the post office has a size limit for every package. To get around this, you decide to put the bulk of your items in a special box — a “blob” — that the post office agrees to handle differently from regular mail. This special box is big enough to fit everything you want to send, but instead of opening and checking everything inside, the post office just makes sure the box is properly sealed and sends it to its destination. Now, you can send a lot more at once, without overloading the postal system.

Traditionally, Ethereum has limits on how much data each transaction can carry. These limits ensure that the network can process transactions quickly and keep running smoothly. But as more people use Ethereum, there’s a need to handle more transactions and larger amounts of data without slowing down the network.

Here is exactly where proto-danksharding and blobs come into play. A blob is a large chunk of data attached to a transaction that goes beyond the usual size limits. The network checks that the blob is there and intact but doesn’t dive into every detail of what’s inside. This approach allows Ethereum to handle much more data without getting bogged down.

Thus, proto-sharding overall allows Ethereum, or its Layer 2 solutions to be exact, to grow and support more complex applications without sacrificing speed or reliability.

It’s also worth noting that proto-danksharding is a step towards full danksharding, which Ethereum aims to achieve. Therefore, this stage is critically important.

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What does proto-danksharding mean for blockchain and businesses?

Proto-Danksharding's impact on blockchain and business

Proto-danksharding will significantly enhance the Ethereum ecosystem’s appeal and utility for businesses by addressing scalability, cost, and efficiency challenges.

Here’s how exactly it impacts and benefits them.

Reduced transaction fees

Proto-danksharding addresses high transaction fees on the Ethereum network. It opens the door for a wider array of apps and users, enhancing innovation and broader adoption of Ethereum-based solutions. This is particularly beneficial for startups and businesses discouraged by cost barriers, enabling them to build and deploy dApps more economically.

Enhanced scalability with rollups

The initiative boosts rollups as Ethereum’s key scaling solution by cutting their costs. Rollups efficiently process transactions off-chain while ensuring mainnet security, and balancing scalability. This enables businesses to manage more transactions smoothly, enhancing user experiences and growth.

Long-term competitiveness and decentralization

By lowering fees with “blobs” and setting the stage for future enhancements like full danksharding, proto-danksharding reinforces Ethereum’s competitiveness and decentralization. This allows businesses to invest in Ethereum projects with more confidence, knowing the platform is evolving to meet future demands without sacrificing its foundational principles.

Forward compatibility

Proto-danksharding’s design ensures compatibility with future upgrades, protecting investments by ensuring current improvements remain relevant and useful. Thus, businesses can confidently plan long-term projects on Ethereum, knowing they’ll continue to benefit from the network’s advancements.

Sustainable and efficient data management

The proposal’s approach to managing disk space, including limiting blob size and lifespan, guarantees that the Ethereum network can scale efficiently without overburdening storage resources. This balance between data availability for Layer 2 solutions and practical disk space management is crucial for maintaining high performance as the network grows.

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Sharding vs. Danksharding vs. Proto-Danksharding: what’s the difference?

Sharding, danksharding, and proto-danksharding are concepts within the Ethereum ecosystem specifically designed to improve the network’s scalability and efficiency.

Here’s how they differ from each other:

Comparison parameter Sharding Danksharding Proto-danksharding
Objective Improve scalability and reduce congestion by dividing the database into shards Boost scalability with an advanced sharding mechanism and data availability sampling Enhance scalability, serving as an intermediary step towards achieving full danksharding
Implementation Involves splitting the network into shards with their own data and transactions, intended to parallelize processing Builds on sharding by adding data availability sampling to ensure data integrity and availability across the network Implements key danksharding elements like blob transactions, without full sharding before the ultimate danksharding phase
Key components Shards that operate semi-independently to process transactions and store data Utilizes data blobs and sampling techniques to ensure data availability without requiring full data download by every node Includes blob-carrying transactions, but with simplified or partial implementation of the full danksharding proposal
Scalability impact Significantly increases the network’s capacity to process transactions by distributing the load Expected to drastically improve scalability beyond basic sharding by reducing the data each node needs to process and verify Boosts scalability by introducing elements of danksharding, aiming for a balance between implementation complexity and performance gain
Complexity Moderate complexity, as it requires rearchitecting the blockchain into shards High complexity due to the addition of sophisticated sampling mechanisms and data availability proofs Moderate to high complexity, serving as a transitional phase incorporating advanced features with gradual complexity increase

Where is proto-danksharding now?

JPMorgan highlights the significance of the proto-danksharding upgrade, expected in the first half of 2024. At the same time, Ethereum’s roadmap to proto-danksharding remains flexible and adaptable to technological progress.

Proto-danksharding is also paving the way for even bigger improvements down the line, but without diving into the deep end of complexity right away. While the full danksharding upgrade is still several years away, the anticipation around this upgrade demonstrates its potential to support Ethereum’s scalability goals, particularly for Layer 2 blockchains.

As blockchain technology advances, Ethereum’s scaling strategies may evolve, but proto-danksharding currently stands as a promising step towards securing Ethereum’s leading position in the digital currency and blockchain landscape.

Discover how the Ethereum Merge marks the beginning of a new development era by checking out our detailed article on this groundbreaking event

Conclusion

The concept of proto-danksharding may seem complex, but it’s a promising and necessary advancement in the world of blockchain technology. It can greatly enhance scalability and reduce transaction costs, offering a more efficient and sustainable foundation for decentralized applications and blockchain networks.

At PixelPlex, we understand that delving into cutting-edge blockchain developments like proto-danksharding may appear daunting. However, it’s precisely our mission to simplify these complexities and help businesses adopt such innovations.

Our blockchain development team is well-versed in the intricacies of these technologies, ensuring seamless integration into your operations while staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field.

Let us be your partner on your meaningful journey toward blockchain-powered innovation.

author

Anastasiya Haritonova

Technical Writer

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