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Big Ethereum Purge: Buterin Shares Details About Proposal EIP-4444

Purging the excess: History expiration feature is coming to Ethereum network  

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has outlined the next steps for the network's upcoming Purge, which aims to simplify the protocol and reduce node resource requirements. The Purge is a crucial stage in Ethereum's transition that involves removing old and excess network history, significantly lowering the hard disk requirements for node operators and the technical debt of the Ethereum protocol.

Buterin noted that the recent implementation of Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP)-6780 during the Dencun hard fork has already eliminated most of the "SELFDESTRUCT" code functions. This change has simplified the protocol by removing complexity and adding new security guarantees. 

As a result, each Ethereum block will have a higher number of storage slots due to the clearance of certain SELFDESTRUCT functions. Buterin expressed hope that a new EIP will completely eliminate the SELFDESTRUCT code in the future.

EIP-4444 to introduce history expiration and increase node decentralization

The Purge will introduce history expiration via EIP-4444 to limit the amount of historical data stored. Consequently, nodes will have the option to prune historical blocks that are over a year old. The historical data will only be required when a peer has to synchronize with the head of the chain or when specifically asked for it. Thus, when fresh blocks are confirmed, a fully synced node won't require historical data that is more than 365 days old.

Buterin emphasized that EIP-4444 can greatly increase Ethereum's node decentralization, stating: 

"Potentially, if each node stores small percentages of the history by default, we could even have roughly as many copies of each specific piece of history stored across the network as we do today." 

He also mentioned that Geth has recently deleted thousands of lines of code by dropping support for pre-Merge (PoW) networks and that post-Dencun, an 18-day storage window for blobs will reduce the node data bandwidth to 50 gigabytes.