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The largest Ethereum Upgrade in History has Officially Been Implemented

The Dencun hard fork has been successfully integrated into the Ethereum mainnet, marking the most substantial upgrade since the Merge.


Photo by DrawKit Illustrations on Unsplash

The highly anticipated Dencun upgrade went live on the Ethereum mainnet on Wednesday at around 9:55 am ET, marking the commencement of epoch 269568 for those tracking it on-chain.

Dencun is primarily geared towards enhancing scalability on the Ethereum network. A key feature of this upgrade is EIP-4844, also known as Proto-Danksharding. This proposal establishes a dedicated data channel on Ethereum for layer-2 data, leading to a significant reduction in transaction fees on rollups.

In addition to Proto-Danksharding, Dencun introduces a total of 9 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), making it one of the largest single hard forks in terms of improvements shipped. Tim Beiko, who coordinates the Ethereum core developer calls, highlighted this fact during the Ethereum Foundation livestream commemorating the event.

This real-world benefit to users is primarily driving anticipation for the upgrade, according to Hannes Graah, a builder of crypto wallet Zeal.

“The Dencun upgrade brings us closer to a future where fees are an afterthought, not a dealbreaker,” Graah told Blockworks. “Just as we generally don’t worry about the cost of traditional domestic bank transfers, Web3 users should be able to transact without worrying about fees.”

Aki Balogh, co-founder and CEO of DLC.Link, likens EIP-4844 to the “NoSQL movement of the 2010s,” which removed constraints of structured SQL data, through developments like MongoDB.

“Giving developers large blobs of temporary data (deleted after 30 days) provides them the opportunity to innovate while not increasing load on the network,” Balogh told Blockworks, removing a major Ethereum bottleneck. “Similar to Mongo’s effect, this proposal will help innovation as dApps and chains find new ways to use the temp storage space,” he said.

In contrast to scaling in Web2, this new data storage channel for Ethereum doesn’t sacrifice decentralization, notes Philippe Schommers, head of infrastructure at Gnosis, which implemented Dencun already on Monday.

“When working towards scalability solutions on the blockchain, there are choices that developers have to make to prioritize decentralization,” Schommers told Blockworks. “When you look at Web2 infrastructure, it’s easy to see how centralized scalability can be done, but that’s not the path we’re trying to follow.”

Schommers acknowledged that while the Dencun upgrade might not be as glamorous as some other developments, it remains a crucial component of Ethereum's overarching ambition. He described Dencun as "one piece of the puzzle" that contributes to the broader goal of constructing a larger-scale, fully decentralized network.


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