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‘Pump the Gas:Ethereum Devs Push for Bigger Gas Limits

Ethereum gas limit is on the agenda again

Ethereum developers have initiated a bold move to enhance the network's scalability and reduce transaction costs by proposing an increase in the gas limit from 30 million to 40 million. 

On March 20, core developer Eric Connor, alongside Mariano Conti, the former head of smart contracts at MakerDAO, launched the 'pump the gas' campaign. This endeavor is set to lower layer-1 transaction fees by an estimated 15 to 33%, marking a significant step towards making Ethereum more accessible and efficient for users.

Connor, in a March 19 post on X, elaborated on the initiative, stating: 

"This can result in a 15% to 33% reduction in layer-1 transaction fees. We are calling on solo stakers, client teams, pools, and community members to help." 

The move has already begun to resonate within the Ethereum community, with the hashtag #pumpthegas garnering support from users, stakers, and DeFi investors. The initiative's momentum builds on a suggestion by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in January, advocating for the gas limit's increase to support greater transaction throughput and efficiency.

Support and opposition among the community

The proposition to elevate Ethereum's gas limit has sparked diverse reactions within the ecosystem. Jesse Pollak, a base contributor, expressed his robust endorsement, emphasizing the network's capacity to accommodate such a change. 

Pollak articulated, reflecting a sector of the community's optimism about the proposal's potential to enhance the network's functionality and user experience:

"I am strongly in support of increasing the Ethereum gas limit to 40 or 45 million. We have the network headroom and it will be beneficial for all parties," 

The proposal has not been met with universal acclaim. Venture investor and Ethereum advocate Evan Van Ness voiced his concerns, particularly timing the increase closely after the EIP-4844 upgrade, which already expanded block size. 

Van Ness shared on X, highlighting the complexity and deliberation required in implementing such network adjustments:

"I'm not in favor of raising the mainnet gas limit today as EIP-4844 just raised the block size," 

Ethereum developer Marius van der Wijden raised flags regarding the proposal's implications on the blockchain's state size, cautioning that while the size itself may not be the primary issue, "accessing and modifying it will become slower and slower," posing challenges to the network's efficiency and scalability.

Implications of Raising the Gas Limit

Elevating the Ethereum gas limit to 40 million carries significant implications for the network, spanning from increased transaction throughput to potential strains on node operators. Advocates argue that such an adjustment would substantially decrease layer-1 transaction fees, making Ethereum more efficient and cost-effective for users. According to the 'pump the gas' initiative: 

"Raising the gas block limit 33% gives Layer 1 Ethereum the ability to process 33% more transaction load in a day," 

However, this move is not without its challenges. An increased gas limit implies a higher volume of data for nodes to process, potentially escalating the hardware requirements and operational costs for node operators. This could lead to greater centralization risks, as only well-resourced participants might afford to run full nodes. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the long-term sustainability of such adjustments, particularly regarding the blockchain's state size. 

As Ethereum developer Marius van der Wijden pointed out, despite no immediate solutions for state growth, the increasing complexity and size could make accessing and modifying data progressively slower, impacting the network's overall performance.

The debate over the gas limit increase underscores a broader discussion about scalability, efficiency, and decentralization within the Ethereum ecosystem.