Ethereum Starts Testing London Upgrade – but 'Adjust Your Expectations'
Developers on the Ethereum (ETH) network have begun testing the London upgrade on the Ropsten testnet today – but ETH users are being once again encouraged to "adjust expectations" when it comes to the much-discussed Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP)-1559.
Earlier today, the Ethereum advocate and former technology lead at DuckDuckGo Adam Cochran tweeted that the “first London EIP-1559 transaction took place on Ropsten,” adding that “blocks seem to be churning out smoothly enough.” He called the development “huge news for Ethereum, one of the largest updates in years and critical for our future.”
Ethereum Foundation community manager Tim Beiko also enthusiastically posted a link to Etherscan evidence of the first Ropsten block, and wrote:
“We have a block! Took a bit longer than expected, but London is live on Ropsten.”
As reported, for now, only the testnets (Ropsten - June 24, Goerli - June 30, Rinkeby - July 7) have been scheduled for the London upgrade. Per the Ethereum Foundation, once the upgrade has successfully been activated on these networks, a block will be set for the Ethereum mainnet and be announced in public.
The new upgrade is the successor to Berlin, which was activated on the Ethereum mainnet earlier this year. Beiko claimed then that “by starting the work on London while Berlin was being rolled out, client teams were able to release this network upgrade at record speed.”
The upgrade also includes EIP-1559, that will split Ethereum gas fees into two parts: a tip which can be set by a transaction’s sender, and a base fee which is then burned. It’s this latter element that some have claimed will transform ETH into a deflationary cryptoasset, and, according to the ETH camp, make it a serious store-of-value rival to bitcoin (BTC). However, this shift may not occur overnight.
In either case, the ETH-focused wallet manager MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan reiterated fears she first expressed back in May this year, and encouraged others to lower their expectations ahead of the upgrade.
In a Twitter thread, Monahan wrote that while EIP-1559 was an “elegant solution to a lot of hard problems,” including “incentives across the network,” the ETH token's “role in the network,” and the “transition towards ETH 2.0,” it was not short on drawbacks, too.
She explained gas fee-related issues using an analogy:
“In Ethereumland, the [user experience, UX] is like this: Are you willing to pay between USD 5 and USD 20 to have USD 13 worth of food MAYBE delivered to you in 15 seconds to seven days? This is the problem.”
She also stressed that users don't know "with sufficient certainty" the final cost, they don't know the time period it will be successfully delivered.
"We actually don't actually know with sufficient certainty if it will even ever be delivered. Here, you still pay USD 10 to have your food not delivered," the CEO said.
According to her, while EIP-1559 has the opportunity to improve this user experience during periods of high congestion on the network, it might not help.
The MyCrypto boss added,
“It reverts to how it is now during periods of high congestion. You, the user, still have to pick your tip. Which means the wallets still have to figure out a good way to give you that based on the past X blocks.”
Furthermore, Monahan explained, a number of UX issues could prove to be stumbling blocks, imagining the following (internal) conversation for an Ethereum user:
- “I can't find my [transaction]”
- “Why do I have so many pending [transactions], I just used 5000 gwei!"
- “If I set it to 200 gwei will it be mined ever?”
- “I just paid USD 20 and my swap failed.”
- “Oh you need to speed your [transaction] up.”
“The gas fee and gas limit are too complicated for new users. No one knows what gas to use-set,” she concluded, suggesting that issues such as these were “not necessarily addressed by EIP-1559.”
Surprisingly for some, perhaps, the knives were not out for Monohan in the ETH community. In fact, some developers appeared inclined to agree with some of her points.
The Ethereum Foundation advisor Alex Van de Sande wrote that he “shared some of” the CEO’s concerns that “1559 is over-promising.” But he added that he had not yet “seen any argument” that the new update would “make things wrong.” At most, he added, the development would simply “not make a difference.”
“I’d rather we keep experimenting with exciting models than to be ossified for fear of change.”
At 16:26 UTC, ETH trades at USD 1,992 and is down by almost 1% in a day and 16% in a week.
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