In the past, people have talked a lot about Ethereum’s plans for the future. Initially, they wanted to introduce something called “sharding” at the same time they switched to a new way of agreeing on transactions called “proof-of-stake’ (PoS). The idea was that PoS would make Ethereum use less energy, and sharding would help with the problem of slow transactions and expensive fees. They called this plan “Ethereum 2.0,” but now they’ve decided to change their approach. Instead of Ethereum 2.0, they’re focusing on a new roadmap called “rollup-centric.” It’s a different way of doing things that they think will be better.

Sharding is a concept in blockchain design where the chain is divided into many smaller chains called shard chains. Each shard chain handles specific types of transactions. The idea behind shard blob transactions is to streamline frequently repeated rollup transactions, making them faster and more efficient. Proto Danksharding is an upcoming and fascinating advancement in Ethereum’s scalability plan. It will be implemented after The Merge and serves as a significant milestone towards achieving scalability through roll ups. In this article we will talk about Proto danksharing and what new developments it could bring.

Introduction on Danksharding and Proto-Danksharding

Danksharding is a fascinating concept that plays a crucial role in making Ethereum a highly scalable blockchain. However, achieving this scalability requires several protocol upgrades and one of the intermediate steps towards it is Proto-Danksharding. This exciting development aims to make Layer 2 transactions incredibly affordable for users, while also enabling Ethereum to handle more than 100,000 transactions per second. Proto-Danksharding, also referred to as EIP-4844 introduces a method for rollups to incorporate cheaper data into blocks. The name itself is derived from the two brilliant researchers who proposed the idea: Protolambda and Dankrad Feist.

Over the past few years, the Ethereum network has witnessed remarkable growth. However, this growth has come with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to high demand events. These events often lead to a surge in gas fees, causing both developers and users to bear the brunt of high transaction costs. This has become a significant problem for Ethereum L1, the base layer of the network. To address this issue, rollups were introduced as a solution. Rollups have the potential to make user transactions more affordable. However, their effectiveness is limited by the way they currently handle transactions, specifically by posting them in CALLDATA. This method proves to be costly as it requires processing by all Ethereum nodes and remains on the chain indefinitely, even though rollups only require the data for a short period of time. Furthermore, the storage of both L1 and L2 calldata in the same block creates additional storage complications. The block size is limited, and combining the data from both layers exacerbates this problem.

Proto Dank Sharding is an exciting initiative that seeks to address these challenges and introduce significant improvements to the Ethereum network. It aims to bring about two major changes that will revolutionize the way transactions are processed and data is stored.

The first change involves the implementation of “Pay as you Go” smart contracts. Currently, gas fees are paid upfront for executing smart contracts on the Ethereum network. However, with Proto Dank Sharding, the payment structure will be based on operations. This means that users will only pay for the specific operations they perform within the smart contract, making the process more flexible and cost-effective. The second change focuses on introducing a new data storage system for Layer 2 (L2) data. As mentioned earlier, the existing system faces storage limitations due to the combined storage. Proto Dank Sharding proposes a revamped data storage mechanism specifically designed for L2 data. This system will optimize storage usage and enhance efficiency, overcoming the current challenges associated with limited block size.

How does Proto-Danksharding work?

Let’s delve into the intriguing world of Proto-Danksharding and its innovative approach to data storage on the Ethereum network. Instead of relying solely on traditional blocks, Proto-Danksharding introduces a concept called “data blobs” that bring about exciting possibilities. Data blobs serve as additional block space specifically designed to store data for a limited duration, typically a couple of weeks. Back in 2016, sharding was a hot topic, exploring ways to increase the network’s transaction processing capacity. Although the implementation of sharding took a backseat in subsequent developments, the fundamental idea of splitting network activity into smaller units, called shards, remained intriguing. This is where Danksharding comes into play.

Danksharding builds upon the concept of sharding but with a twist. Instead of solely focusing on transaction throughput, Danksharding leverages shards to create additional space for storing “blobs” of data. These blobs are like little packets of information that can be efficiently stored within the shards. By doing so, Danksharding not only increases the storage capacity of the network but also optimizes the overall utilization of resources. To implement this concept, EIP-4844, or Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4844, will introduce blob carrying transactions primarily for Layer 2 solutions. These transactions, which carry data blobs, will be indexed by the Graph protocol, ensuring accessibility to this valuable data indefinitely.

What will happen as a result of these blobs?

As mentioned above, Blobs offer an incredible opportunity to store data at super affordable costs, making it a game-changer for the Ethereum network. In the initial phase, the block size for blobs would be set at approximately 256KB, providing ample space to accommodate valuable information. But that’s not all! Blobs also introduce a flexible payment structure for developers. Instead of paying upfront for contract execution, developers now have the option to pay based on the number of operations performed. This new approach allows developers to make more accurate cost predictions, avoiding any surprises from unexpected gas fees. It empowers developers to better manage their budgets and optimize their resources.

It’s worth noting that the data stored in blobs is not directly accessible to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This ensures the security and integrity of the data. Additionally, the data in blobs has a limited lifespan, automatically getting deleted after a fixed time period, usually ranging from one to three months. This feature ensures that the Ethereum network remains efficient and clutter-free, preventing unnecessary data buildup. So, how does all of this benefit end users? Well, the introduction of blobs enables rollups, which are Layer 2 solutions, to send their data in a much more cost-effective manner. By taking advantage of the affordability offered by blobs, rollups can significantly reduce their operational expenses. As a result, end users will experience the benefits in the form of cheaper transactions. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!

The Analogy

Let’s explore this concept with a comparison. Let’s imagine a place called Vintage Town, where delicious food and vibrant streets come together. There’s a small and cosy eatery that has become quite famous for its special dishes: “Pani Puri” and “Paranthas”. Even though the restaurant can only seat around 40 people at a time, folks are happy to wait for their turn because these dishes are so popular.

The Waiting Game

Last winter, It was an evening when I decided to visit a restaurant known for its famous “Pani Puri.” Little did I know that I would encounter a long line of people waiting outside. It was quite surprising, as you don’t typically expect such a lengthy wait for a serving of “Pani Puri.”

Food on the table

I joined the queue and waited patiently for my turn. To my amazement, it took a whopping 3 hours before I finally got a table. Finally seated, I eagerly anticipated my plate of “Pani Puri.” But alas, the waiter took an additional 30 minutes to bring it to my table. Can you believe it? I finished those delightful bites in a mere 5 minutes. So, in total, I spent a whopping 3.5 hours for a mere 5-minute eating experience. Talk about a colossal waste of time!

Observing the Scene

As I savoured my “Pani Puri,” I couldn’t help but take a glance around the restaurant. I noticed that most of the other tables were also enjoying their servings of “Pani Puri.” It struck me as odd because I thought these treats would be quicker to serve than, let’s say, a “Parantha.” It seemed that the restaurant’s limited space was causing inefficiencies in its service.

A Brilliant Improvement

Picture this: as I glanced around, my eyes landed on a small vacant spot right outside the restaurant. It seemed perfect to accommodate a cart that could bring about a positive change. Intrigued by the idea, I struck up a conversation with the owner at the billing counter. I shared my overall experience and, more importantly, a brilliant suggestion that had the potential to enhance their restaurant’s efficiency and ultimately boost their revenue.

The Lightbulb Moment

My idea was refreshingly straightforward. I proposed to the owner the concept of setting up a separate cart exclusively dedicated to serving “Pani Puri” while reserving the indoor space for scrumptious “Paranthas.” By doing so, not only would people move through the line faster, but the restaurant could easily cater to more than 5-6 customers at a time for the beloved “Pani Puri.” This ingenious solution would effectively address both the queue and space predicaments.

The Bigger Picture

Now, let’s dive into the context that inspired this idea. Imagine, if you will, that the Old Delhi Restaurant represents Ethereum, while its dining area symbolizes the block space within the network. In this analogy, the long queue outside the market represents the competitive gas fees market. Drawing parallels, we can liken the “Paranthas” to L1 transactions and the cherished “Pani Puri” to L2 calldata. And the proposed “Pani Puri” cart? Well, that’s what we refer to as the “Blob,” a concept that will be introduced after the advent of Proto Dank Sharding.

Current progress of Ethereum Development

While the full implementation of Danksharding is still a few years away, we can look forward to the arrival of Proto-Danksharding in the near future. Let’s dive into the details and get a glimpse of what’s in store. Back in February 2023, the KZG ceremony, which brings together numerous individuals from the Ethereum community to collectively generate a secret random string of numbers, was open and garnered considerable attention. This ceremony plays a vital role in verifying certain data. The progress made during this event was promising, attracting enthusiastic contributors from far and wide.

The EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal) for Proto-Danksharding has reached a mature stage, with the specification receiving widespread agreement. As we speak, client implementations of prototypes are being put through rigorous testing to ensure they are ready for production. The anticipation is palpable as we approach the crucial next step: implementing these changes on a public testnet. To stay informed about the latest developments, I recommend keeping an eye on the EIP 4844 readiness checklist. This valuable resource will serve as your guide, providing regular updates on the progress towards Proto-Danksharding and the exciting advancements in the Ethereum ecosystem.

To conclude

Danksharding introduces a fascinating mechanism that brings several notable changes to the Ethereum ecosystem. In addition to the new transaction format, EIP-4844, the Ethereum Improvement Proposal associated with danksharding, will also introduce various verification rules, logic enhancements, and adjustments to gas fees. These updates are crucial as they lay the foundation for the full implementation of danksharding in the future. They serve as important preparatory steps to ensure a smooth transition to this groundbreaking mechanism.

It’s worth noting that despite the significant changes brought about by the proto-danksharding upgrade, each node within the Ethereum network will still be required to process all data. This means that the mainnet will continue to experience congestion and high costs due to the strong demand for secure blockspace. However, the introduction of proto-danksharding is a monumental upgrade that will have a profound impact on transacting within Layer 2 networks. It is expected to make transactions significantly more affordable and accessible for users.

Furthermore, proto-danksharding serves as a crucial stepping stone toward achieving future roadmap milestones. It not only enhances the scalability and efficiency of Layer 2 networks but also prepares the Ethereum network for upcoming advancements and developments. By embracing this upgrade, Ethereum is positioning itself for a more sustainable and scalable future.