Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin Surprised by L2 'Usage' Since Dencun



Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said Thursday that the amount of “usage” he’s seen from layer-2 networks following last week’s milestone Dencun upgrade has been lower than expected.

In response to a question submitted by Rug Radio at ETH Taipei on Thursday, Buterin hedged when asked whether Dencun’s implementation has been better than he expected. 

“It depends what you mean by better,” the prominent crypto developer replied. 

Buterin proceeded to laud Ethereum’s developers for implementing the update “flawlessly,” before reflecting on what he considered to be Dencun’s lackluster contribution to network traffic on layer-2 networks since going live last Wednesday.

“The amount of usage is interestingly low, right?” Buterin said. 

Dencun introduced blobs, a novel data storage solution that—via a process called proto-danksharding—now allows layer-2 data to be stored on-chain for a temporary period of about a month (instead of forever), drastically reducing layer-2 gas fees to near-zero. 

Buterin said Thursday that Ethereum core developers had hoped, going into Dencun, that layer-2 networks would use three blobs on average per block; current levels are about 67% lower than that target.

To be clear, it’s not that layer-2 networks have dropped off in traffic since Dencun; on the contrary, most of them have more than doubled in transaction volume since last week.

Traffic reached such highs on Coinbase’s layer-2 network Base yesterday that transactions on Coinbase.com and Coinbase Wallet began failing intermittently yesterday. This morning, gas fees on Base suddenly spiked to about a third of pre-Dencun levels, after trading bots flooded the network in a meme coin-related frenzy. 

Nonetheless, Buterin and other Ethereum stakeholders appear to have expected even greater spikes in layer-2 traffic, given Dencun’s dramatic lowering of L2 gas fees—especially at a time when gas fees on the Ethereum mainnet are spiking to levels intolerable for many retail users.  

Marius Van Der Wijden, an Ethereum core developer, said it might be too early to assess the success of blobs, as some layer-2 networks have yet to integrate Dencun. 

“Not all L2s have switched to blobs yet,” Van Der Wijden told Decrypt. “It means that L2s have lots of room to grow.” 

Polygon, for example, has yet to fully update to Dencun. Polygon Labs VP of Product David Silverman previously told Decrypt that he expects all layer-2s, including Polygon, to be fully integrated with Dencun within a month or two.

Van Der Wijden also said that a silver lining of relatively low blob usage on layer-2s so far has been the rock-bottom gas fees that such traffic has permitted. Rising demand for blob space will likely increase layer-2 transaction costs, though to what degree is yet to be seen. 

In Taipei on Thursday, Vitalik Buterin echoed that sentiment. 

“I do think it is good for present-day rollups that [transaction costs] are very cheap,” he said. 

But the Ethereum creator emphasized he’s more excited about blob usage eventually meeting his expectations. 

“Definitely looking forward to usage going up over the next few months,” he added.

Edited by Andrew Hayward





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