Ethereum’s unconfirmed transaction numbers are up again today to around 15,000 after falling to 2,000 a few days ago.
While fees have risen again to around 40-50 cent following increased demand for transaction space, up another 300,000 to almost one million at 984,021 transactions in the past 24 hours according to etherscan.
CryptoKitties is not to blame this time. They are requiring only 2% of transactions, while a decentralized exchange, Etherdelta, is responsible for more than 8%.
Much activity is occurring on exchanges that rely on the public blockchain for instant conversion, such as Shapeshift which is handling around 1%.
Miners have increased the blocksize to around 1MB every ten minutes, but demand has been relentless, with the ceiling seemingly once again hit, causing congestion and an increase in fees.
It could potentially be increased to 4MB per 10 minutes, giving around 4 million transactions a day, but with 300,000 added in just days, it is now unclear whether that would give sufficient breathing room before long term solutions are implemented.
Ethereum developers are working on them and they have been a top priority for a while with more urgency now added.
However, the wider ecosystem needs to do its part too while we wait for full solutions. A platform, such as a decentralized exchange for example, might not need all of its transactions on the blockchain.
They could batch them together to one on-chain transaction so that 10% is reduced to 1%. And considering ethereum has smart contracts, such batching in a fairly trustless manner might be relatively easy.
The other option would be to gradually increasing the blocksize to 4MB and even 8MB while we wait for solutions, but so that added space is not quickly consumed projects would still need to use more efficient methods.
Because the ability to run a node is fairly important, and although it perhaps doesn’t need to be stupendously convenient, ordinary coders need the ability to run the blockchain so that, if needed, they can fork it.
Thus maintaining our money in the people’s hands and preserving the ultimate decentralization of public blockchains, the freedom to just fork them.
A freedom that might not be maintained if the blocksize becomes too big, but 4MB or even 8MB might perhaps be afforded. However, without efficient use, that might be quickly consumed, potentially giving no respite while coders race to implement the long term solutions.