Ethereum Moves One Step Closer Toward Major Scalability Upgrade

Ethereum’s Dencun upgrade went live on a testnet today in the decentralized network’s latest advancement.

Dencun was launched Wednesday on the Goerli test network—a way for developers to try out the upgrade before it becomes available to everyone on the mainnet. 

Although the test seemed to get off to a bumpy start, with Ethereum core developer Parithosh Jayanthi announcing on X (formerly known as Twitter) that developers were “debugging a client issue,” all seemed to go according to plan, with the “chain finalizing.” 

The testnet launch today means Ethereum is one step closer to completing its upgrade. When fully live, Dencun will mean Ethereum—the blockchain behind ETH, the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market cap—will have addressed its scalability issues. 

It will do this via its proto-danksharding (also known as EIP-4844) feature. Proto-danksharking will allow the network to scale and more cheaply handle over 100,000 transactions per second, according to developers, via Ethereum Layer 2 solutions.

Ethereum layer-2 solutions, like Optimism, are where most of Ethereum’s activity takes place, a report by market intelligence firm Messari said in October. 

Proto-danksharking is the most talked about feature of the upgrade because Ethereum has long struggled with scalability; compared to other blockchains, it is slow and costly to do things on Ethereum, such as minting NFTs or sending ETH. 

Developers working on the new feature hope to solve this. “Danksharding is how Ethereum becomes a truly scalable blockchain, but there are several protocol upgrades required to get there. Proto-Danksharding is an intermediate step along the way,” developers explain on the Ethereum website. 

“Both aim to make transactions on Layer 2 as cheap as possible for users and should scale Ethereum to >100,000 transactions per second.”

The Dencun upgrade will be an Ethereum hard fork—when validators on the network have to upgrade to the newest software in order to keep participating. There have been various similar upgrades to the network in the past, most recently 2022’s “merge”, when the network moved from proof of work to proof of stake

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