The Ethereum community has begun to divide over a potential increase in block size, via the gas limit, as transaction fees near $0.10.
Rising Ethereum Fees
Increased demand on Ethereum’s network throughout the year has led to greater network congestion, prompting some to question whether miners should increase the gas limit for ether -- the currency’s equivalent of blocksize.
If anyone stops for a moment to think about "Vitalik Buterin says Ethereum community should push for gas limit to increase with Istanbul," or his suggestion to use #Bitcoin cash inside #Ethereum, she or he would see how utterly ridiculous that project has became.— Satoshi Watch (@blockchainghost) September 2, 2019
According to ETHGasStation, completing a ‘fast’ transaction in under two minutes costs users an average of $0.075 in fees. Users can opt for the ‘standard’ rate on Ethereum’s blockchain, which costs an average of $0.037, albeit at an increased transaction time of five minutes.
However, executing smart contract-based transactions, such as creating a position through MakerDAO, costs users even more.
Token transfers like for Tether’s Ethereum-based version of USDT also come at a premium and have contributed heavily to network congestion. According to data compiled in a report by TrustNodes, Tether’s USDT is accounting for half of the available gas on ethereum’s network, and increased from $1.2 billion in July to $1.6 billion in September.
As stated in the report,
"Half of ethereum’s decentralized and global blockchain now serves solely cash like digital dollar fiat, giving miners about 400 eth in fees with 800 eth paid in total by all network users, or circa 7% of the entire miners’ reward.”
Increasing the Gas Limit
While users may argue for a higher gas limit to reduce fees, miners appear content with allowing them to rise. Etheremine and Nanopool have both reportedly voted against increasing the gas limit, thereby keeping transaction fees at their current level, with the potential to increase as network congestion worsens.
Ethereum would require 51% of miners to agree to increase the gas limit in order for it to go into effect on the entire network. However, that would require the cooperation of several of the top mining pools, which appears to be against their interest at present.
The current gas limit for ETH is around 8 million, which is the equivalent of 1MB of data being processed every 10 minutes. In comparison, bitcoin operates a block size of 1MB aided by technology like SegWit, which helps it haves blocks slightly above said limit. Members of the ETH community have begun to call for doubling the gas limit to 16 million as a relatively benign implementation that would not require overhauling the entire network.
However, miners are ultimately in control of the gas limit and are unlikely to come to a consensus agreement to change any time soon.
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