Ethereum Mainnet Gears Up for Dencun Upgrade: Lower Fees and Enhanced Efficiency

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Thereum’s Dencun mainnet upgrade is scheduled for March 13, 2024, introducing data blocks and protodanksharding to improve network efficiency and reduce fees.

The Ethereum Foundation Protocol Support Team has officially announced the activation of the Dencun Network Upgrade on the Ethereum Mainnet. This long-awaited upgrade, scheduled to go live at epoch 269568 on March 13, 2024, at 13:55 UTC, promises to bring significant improvements to the network, including the introduction of ephemeral data blobs and a mechanism known as “protodanksharding.”

Jump forward in Scalability and efficiency

The Dencun upgrade, which follows the previous year’s Shapella upgrade, includes transformative changes to both Ethereum’s consensus and execution layers. Among the most notable is the implementation of EIP-4844, which introduces shard blob transactions designed to reduce Layer 2 (L2) transaction fees. This upgrade represents a crucial step in Ethereum’s ongoing journey to increase scalability and efficiency, ultimately benefiting both users and developers.

What’s included in the Dencun upgrade

The upgrade includes several proposals to improve Ethereum (EIP), including:

EIP-1153: Transient storage opcodes

EIP-4788: Beacon core block in EVM

EIP-4844: Shard Blob transactions

EIP-5656: MCOPY – Memory copy instruction

EIP-6780: SELF-DESTROY only in the same transaction

EIP-7044: Permanently valid signed voluntary exits

EIP-7045: Increase max slot for certificate inclusion

EIP-7514: Add limit on maximum outflow per epoch

EIP-7516: BLOBBASEFEE opcode

The full specifications for these changes are detailed in the relevant EIP documents and the deneb folder of the ethereum/consensus-specs repository. Additionally, the upgrade forces changes to the engine API, which facilitates communication between consensus and execution layer nodes.

Client releases and upgrade instructions

The Ethereum Foundation has provided a list of client releases that support the Dencun upgrade to the mainnet, urging node operators and players to upgrade their software accordingly. It is critical that participants are aware of the risks associated with managing a majority client at the execution or consensus level and consider diversifying their client usage.

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Implications for users, node operators, and developers

For the average Ethereum user or Ether holder, no action is required regarding the upgrade. However, node operators must update their clients to the specified versions to remain compatible with the network after an upgrade. Similarly, bettors must ensure that both their beacon node and validator client are updated. If you do not participate in the upgrade, you will remain on an incompatible chain, unable to send Ether or work on the updated network.

Application and tool developers are advised to review the EIP in the upgrade to assess the impact on their projects. New features and potential backward compatibility implications should be considered, especially with EIP-6780, EIP-7044 and EIP-7514.

The meaning of “Dencun”

The name “Denkun” combines “Deneb”, a star in the constellation Cygnus, and “Cancun”, the location of Devcon 3, in accordance with the convention of naming upgrades after celestial objects and Devcon locations.

The Ethereum Foundation thanks all contributors who played a role in making this major upgrade possible, marking another major improvement to the Ethereum network.

Image source: Shutterstock

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