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Proto-Danksharding: Ethereum's Move Toward Scalability

Published on: Feb 22, 2024
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In Brief

Explore Proto-Danksharding's role in Ethereum's evolution, aiming to slash Layer 2 transaction fees and achieve over 100,000 TPS, preparing for Danksharding.

Proto-Danksharding: Ethereum's Move Toward Scalability

Ethereum, renowned as the second-largest blockchain network by market capitalization, is undergoing a significant transformation with the integration of Proto-Danksharding. This pivotal upgrade represents a monumental stride in Ethereum's journey towards scalability. Proto-Danksharding is designed to fundamentally enhance the network's capacity, paving the way for Ethereum to efficiently handle over 100,000 transactions per second.

By dramatically reducing transaction costs on Layer 2 solutions, it sets the foundation for a more accessible, faster, and cost-efficient ecosystem, ensuring Ethereum's position as a leading platform for decentralized applications and smart contracts. This development is crucial for the blockchain's evolution, promising to expand its utility and adoption across a broader spectrum of industries and applications.

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The Genesis of Proto-Danksharding

Proto-Danksharding, encapsulated in Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 4844, represents a critical intermediate step towards the broader vision of Danksharding. Conceived by researchers Protolambda and Dankrad Feist, Proto-Danksharding aims to address a fundamental bottleneck in Ethereum's architecture: the high cost of transactions on Layer 2 solutions, such as rollups.


Traditionally, rollups have relied on CALLDATA to post transactions on Ethereum. This method, while effective, incurs significant costs due to the data being processed by all Ethereum nodes and stored indefinitely on the blockchain. Proto-Danksharding introduces an elegant solution: data blobs. These blobs allow rollups to attach data to blocks at a fraction of the current cost, without being directly accessible by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and automatically expiring after a predetermined period (1-3 months).

The Role of Blobs

The introduction of blobs is a game-changer for rollups, enabling them to drastically reduce the cost of user transactions. By bypassing the expensive CALLDATA method, rollups can now operate more efficiently, passing on the savings to end-users in the form of cheaper transaction fees. This not only enhances user experience but also encourages wider adoption of Ethereum's Layer 2 solutions.

The introduction of data blobs as part of Ethereum's Proto-Danksharding update represents a significant adjustment in how transaction data is managed, particularly affecting rollups in Ethereum's Layer 2 scaling solutions. Blobs allow for the storage of large chunks of transaction data outside of the traditional CALLDATA field, presenting an alternative that could reduce the cost associated with transactions. This approach is expected to lower the operational costs for rollups by providing a more efficient method for handling data, which could, in turn, lead to reduced transaction fees for end-users.

The implications of integrating blobs into Ethereum's infrastructure include the potential for increased adoption of Layer 2 solutions, as the reduced costs could make these platforms more appealing to a wider range of users and developers. This change aims to support the scalability and efficiency of the Ethereum network by offering a method that could handle transaction data more economically without compromising the network's integrity. By facilitating a more cost-effective solution for data management on Ethereum, blobs are anticipated to play a crucial role in the ongoing development and optimization of the network's scaling capabilities.

Ensuring Security and Integrity

Ensuring the security and integrity of transactions within the Ethereum network is paramount, especially as it evolves to accommodate a higher volume of transactions through innovative updates like Proto-Danksharding. A key challenge in this evolution is the incorporation of new data structures, such as blobs, which are essential for increasing throughput but pose potential risks to the network's security and integrity.

Proto-Danksharding addresses these concerns head-on by implementing a robust verification mechanism that relies on polynomial commitments to the data contained within these blobs. This sophisticated approach enables the network to efficiently and effectively verify transactions, ensuring that the integrity and security of the system are upheld even as it scales.

The cornerstone of this verification mechanism is the Kate-Zaverucha-Goldberg (KZG) polynomial commitment scheme, a cutting-edge cryptographic technique that offers a balance between security and efficiency. The KZG scheme is renowned for its ability to provide succinct proofs for polynomial evaluations, making it particularly well-suited for blockchain applications where bandwidth and computational resources are at a premium.

By leveraging the KZG scheme, Proto-Danksharding ensures that each transaction can be verified with minimal computational overhead, without sacrificing the security of the network. This method not only streamlines the verification process but also significantly reduces the potential for fraudulent activities within the network.

Furthermore, the implementation of polynomial commitments through the KZG scheme enhances the overall integrity of the Ethereum blockchain. It ensures that all transactions are accurately recorded and verifiable, fostering a transparent and trustworthy environment for users and developers alike. This level of security and integrity is crucial for the widespread adoption and success of Ethereum as it continues to pioneer the development of decentralized applications and smart contract technology.

In summary, the introduction of Proto-Danksharding, with its emphasis on maintaining security and integrity through advanced cryptographic techniques like the KZG polynomial commitment scheme, represents a significant milestone in Ethereum's ongoing quest for scalability and efficiency. It underscores the blockchain's commitment to providing a secure, reliable, and high-performing platform for the future of decentralized finance and beyond.

The Road to Danksharding

While Proto-Danksharding lays the groundwork, the ultimate goal is the full implementation of Danksharding. This final stage will dramatically increase Ethereum's capacity for rollups, allowing for the attachment of up to 64 blobs per block. Danksharding requires significant updates to consensus client operations, including proposer-builder separation and data availability sampling, already part of Ethereum's roadmap for other enhancements.


The anticipation for Proto-Danksharding is palpable, marking a critical step towards Ethereum's vision of a scalable, efficient, and user-friendly blockchain. Full Danksharding remains a few years away, but the progress towards Proto-Danksharding signals a significant milestone in Ethereum's ongoing evolution. As these upgrades come to fruition, Ethereum stands to redefine the landscape of blockchain scalability, opening new possibilities for developers, users, and the broader ecosystem.

For more detailed insights and updates on Proto-Danksharding and Danksharding, following Ethereum's development forums and the contributions of key researchers like Vitalik Buterin and Dankrad Feist is recommended. Their work not only illuminates the technical intricacies of these upgrades but also highlights the collaborative spirit driving Ethereum towards a future of unparalleled scalability and innovation.


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Note: Any cited numbers, figures, or illustrations are reported at the time of writing, and are subject to change.

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