Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4844 (EIP-4844), also known as Proto-Danksharding, introduces a set of changes that seek to lay the logic and “scaffolding” for scaling Ethereum through sharding but without adding sharding itself. Its implementation aims to reduce the transaction fees of rollups like Arbitrum, Optimism, and Base, which are considered a central part of Ethereum’s scaling, at least in the short term.
EIP-4844: Proto-Dank Sharding
Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4844 (EIP-4844), AKA Proto-Danksharding, is a recent proposal that aims to scale Ethereum’s L2 structure, allowing rollups to take advantage of a new fee market for embedded data.
Called Proto-Danksharding for the names of two of its authors, Dankrad Feist and Diederik Loerakker (AKA Protolambda), this improvement proposal is presented as a stopgap solution to scale Ethereum through rollups while sharding, Ethereum’s layer 1 scaling strategy, gets implemented. The changes in EIP-4844 would be compatible with the upcoming sharding solution, allowing for a seamless sharding implementation when it’s ready.
This is because part of the sharding tasks (for a full sharding specification) are already being developed in EIP-4844, but without allowing different validators to process and validate several data shards.
What Does It Change?
Proto-Danksharding proposes a new type of transaction, called “blob-carrying transaction,” which has added data that cannot be accessed by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
The implementation of this new type of transaction would allow more data to be added to each transaction, with up to ~0.75 MB being added to the chain with every bloc processed. The fees these transactions will pay are cheaper than other transactions because blobs can be pruned after two weeks, a period that, according to EIP-4844.com, is “long enough for all actors of an L2 to retrieve it, short enough to keep disk use manageable.”
In contrast, standard ethereum transactions feature data that will be available forever on the blockchain.
Also, blob transactions will have their own gas market, and will be priced independently from other transactions in what’s currently called “blob gas.”
Effect On Rollups
While rollups like Arbitrum, Optimism, and Base have transaction fees way lower than Ethereum L1 fees, implementing Proto-Danksharding would reduce rollup transaction fees even more. Instead of putting data in standard transactions, rollups would post data to the Ethereum blockchain using blobs, taking advantage of lower transaction fees.
While the data posted to the main chain will not be available forever, authors state this is a feature because “rollups need data to be available once, long enough to ensure honest actors can construct the rollup state, but not forever.”
Terence Tsao, a developer of Prysmatic Labs, estimated that rollup fees could be 100x lower just by introducing this new transaction scheme. OP Labs, the organization behind the Optimism protocol, expects costs for rollup L1 transactions to be reduced by at least 20x, anticipating these will take advantage of blobspace to reduce transaction costs for their users.
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