Ethereum’s network processed a new all-time high of 693,808 transactions yesterday, with CryptoKitties handling around 11% of it, or 80,000, but a network limit has been hit, causing some congestion.
Ethereum, like bitcoin, has a blocksize limit of sorts, but they call it gas or computation limit. That currently stands at around 6.7 million computations, or in more familiar language, the ethereum network can currently handle only around 700,000 daily transactions.
As demand appears to be higher than current capacity supply, fees have increased slightly from sub-cents to 5 cent. The solution is simple, miners can just raise the gas limit.
Unlike in bitcoin where the transaction limit is a hard protocol rule requiring a fork to change it, in ethereum it is a soft limit, so each miner can decide whether to increase it or decrease it as they please without affecting other miners.
The network, therefore, does not need “consensus” to change the limit, but only a majority of miners to vote for a raise like they did earlier this year without any problems.
The network came under stress only today, so just two miners, F2Pool and Nanopool, are voting for a raise, but it is probable the rest will follow in the next few days.
They seemingly all manually set the limits, so they may need some time to adjust their software. Once the majority does so, the limit is automatically instantly increased, freeing our cute kitties to go on roaming and keep on causing havoc on the blockchain.
That’s the short term and fairly immediate solution to the cat invasion, with longer term solutions on the way in the next few months.
Developers are working on numerous protocols and upgrades, including Proof of Stake Casper, blockchains within blockchains Plasma, Lightning like Raiden, Visa levels sharding, and other projects which have now been given a sense of urgency as adoption is clearly outpacing development.
Ethereum’s transaction levels have grown from 10,000 at the beginning of last year to now not far off from a million. That’s even before many ICO-ed and non ICO-ed projects have even launched.
Illustrating the considerable level of growth and network effects experienced by the smart contracts blockchain, which is now facing the cat test.
It can probably easily pass it this time if miners behave and just raise the limit, but whether they will, remains to be seen as scalability once more is brought to the forefront.