Ethereum has processed the lowest number of transactions for all of 2018, just under 490,000 yesterday according to data from etherscan.
Transaction numbers dived within a 24 hour period yesterday, down by more than 100,000 from 620,000 in what looks like a very straight line.
The culprit is probably fees (featured image). They suddenly rose between 30th of June and second of July to reach a high of nearly $1 yesterday.
For today, they seem to be in a downtrend, with gas fees currently at 58 cent per transaction, which is somewhat puzzling considering the network is running at about 1/3rd of its total capacity.
Yesterday it was at about half of overall capacity, so someone or some contract is probably using gas in an idiotic manner at quite an extra expense to them and temporarily to the entire network.
Nor is this the first time idiotic gas calculations effectively clog the network. Binance some time ago did so single handedly by mistakenly having their transactions consume far more than needed.
That ended in about a day and it looks like this episode is probably over too, but it brings to mind once more just how much capacity is needed and, perhaps more importantly, just how much efficient use of the network is needed.
To educate in that regard, Nick Johnson, an ethereum developer, held a gas competition “for Solidity coders to produce the most gas-efficient code they can for a series of straightforward challenges.”
He says “52 users participated, collectively submitting nearly 1200 entries, all of which are now available on the site for your inspection. Keep an eye out for analyses of winning entries by myself and others in coming days.”
Dapps, which are in a way most affected by these temporary congestions, will probably want to closely scrutinize that analysis by the very fine Johnson.
Some dapps are going even further. The Kyber Network, for example, said they “will be releasing further details on Gormos, our layer 2 solution in the next few weeks.”
While Liquidity Network announced they have launched their mainnet which they say allows for the “first bi-directional off-chain ethereum payments.”
Such announcements are probably the first of many because efficiency in dapps can be significantly increased even with current tools.
Truebit, for example, is a pretty cool thing. State channels can probably be utilized sort of everywhere. Plasma is a more complex version of state channels, as is Raiden, but the idea is pretty simple.
Instead of bundling nodes into different shards, you bundle transactions into one on-chain transaction. So, for example, rather than having each click in a dapp go on the blockchain, you keep those clicks in a memory of sorts and then finalize them all in one transaction.
There’s maths and code and all that cool stuff behind it, but none of it is rocket science really. Nor is there much of a trade-off, because people always have the option of making an on-chain transaction. It’s just more efficient and for users it is more convenient as no one wants to deal with MetaMask every time they press something.
It is probably the way dapps will go. So far they’ve been busy getting it all out, with gradual incremental improvements then hopefully getting this all out from dial-up and into broadband then eventually we’ll probably enjoy the blockchain’s version of 2mb/s download speeds.