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Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin Calls for Modest Gas Limit Increase to Boost Network Throughput

In a recent Reddit “ask-me-anything” session organized by the Ethereum Foundation’s Research Team on January 10, co-founder Vitalik Buterin advocated for a “modest” increase in the gas limit to potentially enhance the network’s throughput. Notably, Buterin highlighted that the gas limit has remained unchanged for nearly three years, marking the longest period of stagnation in the protocol’s history.

“Honestly, I think doing a modest gas limit increase even today is reasonable,” stated Buterin during the research team’s 11th AMA, suggesting a proactive approach to address the current challenges faced by the Ethereum network.

Buterin proceeded to conduct some quick calculations, proposing an increase to approximately 40 million. The current gas limit, as reported by Etherscan, stands at 30 million, indicating a potential 33% increase if Buterin’s recommendation is implemented. The Ethereum gas limit, which determines the maximum amount of gas that can be utilized for executing transactions or smart contracts in each block, has evolved over time. Following Ethereum’s genesis in 2015, the average gas limit was around 3 million and has steadily grown alongside increased network usage and adoption.

Source: Etherscan

Gas, in the context of Ethereum, represents the fee required for conducting transactions or executing contracts on the blockchain. Presently, average gas prices hover around 35 gwei or $1.89, as reported by Etherscan. However, these prices have experienced a surge since the beginning of 2024, particularly for intricate smart contract operations.

The Ethereum network encountered a significant spike in gas fees in May 2023, reaching a high of 150 gwei, primarily fueled by the NFT (non-fungible token) craze. It’s crucial to note that a gwei is a denomination of Ethereum, representing one billionth of an ETH.

Buterin’s call for a gas limit increase reflects the Ethereum community’s ongoing efforts to address scalability issues and enhance the overall efficiency of the network. The proposed adjustment aims to strike a balance between accommodating growing demand and maintaining a sustainable ecosystem. As the Ethereum Foundation and developers consider this proposal, the broader cryptocurrency community watches closely, anticipating potential improvements to one of the most widely used blockchain networks globally.

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