The London update delayed Ethereum’s Ice Age, emphasized Buterin
In an analysis posted on Reddit, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin explained why the average daily gas used by the grid jumped from 92 billion to over 100 billion by the time Ethereum implemented the London update. The 9% increase in daily gas usage is different from the changes seen in gas prices and indicates an improvement in overall network capacity.
Buterin highlighted three main causes for the increase in Ethereum network capacity: 1) Ice Age delay, 2) Blocks not using the full 15M pre-London capacity, and 3) Imperfections in base rate adjustment.
The Ethereum Ice Age refers to a phenomenon where the increasing complexity of the mining algorithm eventually causes the Ethereum block chain to become so difficult to mine that it stops creating blocks. Buterin believes that the release of the London update delayed Ethereum’s fast Ice Age and reduced the average blocking time from 13.5 seconds to the normal long-term level of 13.1 seconds. This led to a 2-3% increase in overall network capacity.
Second, before the London update, 15 million was the maximum gas available to be used per block. Many blocks did not use the entire 15M, as they left little room to fit a single transaction. This meant that about 2% of the blocks were voluntarily left empty. However, after the update, 15 million became the target. “This means that if the average gas used, including the empty blocks, is less than 15M, the baseline will decrease until the average goes back to 15M”, explained Buterin. This accounts for another 2-3% improvement in Ethereum’s ability.
Finally, Buterin pointed out that EIP-1559, introduced as part of the London update, has a complex relationship between arithmetic and geometric means for block size and its rates. This makes it not entirely accurate at burning 50% of the gas rate. Thus, the error leads to a slight increase in capacity, as the blocks on average are now filled with a little more than 50%, said the co-founder of Ethereum.
“But for now, Ethereum users can rejoice in the involuntary 6% capacity increase London has brought”, concluded Buterin.
The London update was deployed on August 5, 2021. It is expected to significantly improve the way transactions are conducted on the Ethereum network, affecting compensation for miners and the provision of ETH tokens.