Ethereum Dencun upgrade 2024: All you need to know

The world’s leading blockchain platform, Ethereum, is set to go through a major upgrade in 2024 called the Dencun Upgrade. This highly anticipated upgrade is predicted to bring notable improvements to the Ethereum network. It is expected to enhance the scalability, security, and even functionality of the ETH network. Here, we will explore everything you need to know about the Ethereum Dencun Upgrade 2024, highlighting its key features, potential impact, and what it means for investors and validators.

What is the Ethereum Dencun upgrade?

Basically, Ethereum’s forthcoming hard fork upgrade, called Cancun-Deneb or Ethereum Dencun, is expected to be launched on March 13, 2024. This upgrade has been successfully released on all the Ethereum testnets, including Sepolia, Goerli, and Holesky. Now, developers are ready to implement it on the Ethereum mainnet.

Tagged the “Surge” part of the Ethereum Foundation’s plan, the Dencun upgrade will bring major enhancements to the network. Its major goal is to enhance the ETH blockchain’s maximum number of transactions per second (TPS) without giving up concerns like security. 

An Overview of Ethereum Cancun-Deneb (Dencun) Upgrade

The Ethereum Cancun-Deneb (Dencun) Upgrade is a highly anticipated hard fork that symbolizes a notable milestone in the continuous development of the Ethereum network. As stated earlier, this upgrade intends to put forward important modifications to scalability, security, and even usability in the network. Here are some key features of the Ethereum Dencun network that you can look forward to:  

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1. Cancun: Enhancing scalability

The Cancun upgrade targets the execution layer of the ETH network. Essentially, this upgrade will improve scalability and optimize overall gas efficiency by introducing numerous Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). 

One prominent ElP is EIP-1234, which modifies the block reward and will delay the “difficulty bomb,”. This way, a smooth transition to Ethereum 2.0 is guaranteed.

2. Deneb: Improving consensus and security

The Deneb upgrade focuses on the consensus layer of Ethereum. Essentially, the primary goal of this upgrade is to improve security and consensus mechanisms. 

Basically, one notable EIP is EIP-2322, which presents a better upgrade to the Ethereum Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. This upgrade makes it more robust and efficient.

3. Finalized EIPs for implementation

The Ethereum Cancun-Deneb Upgrade integrates numerous EIPs that have been completed and are ready for implementation. They include:

• EIP-1559

This proposal presents a new transaction fee structure that intends to enhance user experience and decrease transaction fees. Additionally, it presents a base fee that dynamically modifies depending on network demand. This will help to simplify fee estimation and reduce congestion.

• EIP-2929

Basically, this EIP improves the security of the Ethereum network. It functions by increasing the price of some specific operations, making potential hacks far more expensive and less attractive for hackers.

• EIP-2537 

The EIP-2537 presents a new Ethereum-specific opcode. Therefore, this opcode will make the network more efficient for contracts and be able to verify elliptic curve signatures, thereby improving privacy and scalability.

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4. Expected benefits

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The expected benefits of this update are numerous for both the Ethereum ecosystem and its active users. Essentially, it aims to provide a more user-friendly and seamless experience for developers and end-users by handling scalability issues, optimizing overall efficiency, and improving security. Also, this upgrade lays the foundation for forthcoming advancements in the network. Lastly, it paves the way for Ethereum’s growth to a fully PoS consensus mechanism.

5. Deployment and timeline

While a precise date for the Ethereum Dencun Upgrade launch is yet to be announced, it is expected to happen within the forthcoming months. Currently, this Ethereum community and its core developers are working on its deployment and testing processes. This will guarantee a smooth transition into the new network and reduce the risk of potential disturbances to the ETH network.

What is danksharding and Proto-danksharding?

One of the major advancements in the Ethereum Dencun Upgrade is the concept of danksharding and proto-danksharding. Basically, they aim to scale the Ethereum blockchain and improve its efficiency.

i. Danksharding

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Danksharding is a word coined to define the notion of splitting up the Ethereum blockchain into tinier, more manageable portions known as “blobs.” By executing danksharding, the Dencun upgrade seeks to reduce transaction fees and increase the overall capacity of the network. This partitioning strategy allows the parallel processing of transactions on the network and smart contracts, which improves scalability and throughput.

ii. Proto-Danksharding

Proto-danksharding, also called EIP-4844, is a suggested feature in the Ethereum Dencun Upgrade that builds upon the notion of danksharding. It develops the capacity of danksharding by building extra space for reserving data inside the Ethereum network. This better storage capacity encourages more efficient processing of huge amounts of data and also improves scalability.

The enactment of proto-danksharding has notable implications for layer-2 rollups. Additionally, creating more space for data blobs is predicted to decrease gas fees linked with using layer-2 solutions. This will lead to a more seamless and cost-effective experience for all Ethereum users.

Through danksharding and proto-danksharding, the Ethereum Dencub Upgrade attends to one of the fundamental challenges confronting the Ethereum network: scalability. These ideas enable the network to deal with a higher amount of transactions as well as smart contracts. This will help to facilitate the development and adoption of decentralized applications (dApps) which are created on the Ethereum platform.

Ethereum Dencun upgrade will focus on “Blobs’

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The term “blobs” in the context of danksharding and proto-danksharding refers to the partitioned units of the Ethereum blockchain. Danksharding intends to split up the Ethereum blockchain into smaller units known as blobs. 

Each of these blobs can process specific transactions as well as smart contracts. Hence, these blobs operate as independent components within the wider Ethereum network. By dividing the ETH blockchain into blobs, danksharding allows parallel processing. This authorizes multiple transactions as well as smart contracts to be performed simultaneously.

How is Ethereum Dencun upgrade going to affect investors?

The Ethereum Dencun (Cancun-Deneb) upgrade 2024 is anticipated to have considerable implications for all ETH investors. Since the upgrade will introduce advancements to the Ethereum network’s overall scalability and functionality, it can impact different facets of ETH holdings. Below, we’ve listed out the different ways this upgrade may impact Ethereum investors:

a. Enhanced scalability

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The execution of danksharding and proto-danksharding via the Ethereum Dencun upgrade 2024 intends to improve the overall scalability of the Ethereum network. By boosting the transaction throughput of the network and reducing congestion, this upgrade can enhance the user experience. Hence, ETH token investors will benefit from faster and more efficient transactions on the network. This will then lead to better liquidity and higher usability of the token.

b. Network security and stability

The Ethereum Dencun upgrade also integrates different advancements and bug fixes, improving the overall stability and security of the Ethereum network. For ETH investors, this automatically means that they get a stronger ecosystem with fewer vulnerabilities to cyberattacks or network disruptions. 

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c. Lower fees

The implementation of danksharding and other related ElPs is predicted to deal with high gas fees concerns on the Ethereum network. By optimizing the transaction processing and lessening the load on network resources, the expected upgrade may offer users lower transaction costs. This fee reduction can profit investors who often execute transactions, such as trading and interactions with decentralized applications.

As an investor, you need to stay updated about any new changes and how they affect you. This will help you assess how the Dencun upgrade aligns with your investment strategies and overall goals.

How is Ethereum Dencun upgrade going to affect validators?

Here’s an overview of how the Ethereum Dencun upgrade 2024 may affect Ethereum validators:

1. Staking rewards

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After the Ethereum Dencun upgrade in 2024, Ethereum will transition from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. Basically, this change will happen through the execution of the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain. 

Validators on the ETH network who lock up their tokens as a stake to partake in the Pos consensus will be able to earn staking rewards. Also, validators will get extra tokens as an incentive for their active participation and steadfast contribution to the ETH network security.

2. Higher network capacity

Danksharding and proto-danksharding, key parts of the forthcoming upgrade, aim to enhance Ethereum’s scalability. This means that this upgrade can greatly increase the ETH network’s capability to deal with more transactions by authorizing parallel transaction processing and introducing shard chains. Hence, this extended capacity benefits ETH validators by allowing them to easily process more transactions on the network. This potentially increases their staking rewards.

3. Validator performance and efficiency

In addition, the Ethereum Dencun upgrade presents different protocol optimizations and improvements that can enhance the all-around performance and efficiency of validators. This includes the execution of EIPs (Ethereum Improvement Proposals) that will resolve validator-related issues. 

These EIPs will help to optimize validator rotations, reduce penalties, and even refine the ETH validator client software. Therefore, these improvements intend to build a more efficient and seamless validator experience.

What are the risks of Ethereum Dencun upgrade?

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Although the Ethereum Dencun upgrade is beneficial, it also has its fair share of risks. Some of these risks include

i. Impact on smart contracts

One significant risk of this upgrade involves its possible impact on the existing smart contracts. Basically, enforcing new features and significant changes in the Dencun upgrade may cause compatibility problems for some contracts. 

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ii. Challenges around integration

The Ethereum Cancun Upgrade presents the network with advancements in data storage procedures. Although these modifications aim to improve efficiency, integrating them into the current Ethereum network will still pose certain challenges.

iii. Testing and implementation complexity

To reduce risks effectively, extensive testing is extremely important. Identifying and dealing with any likely vulnerabilities or bugs before the upgrade is officially launched is highly crucial to deter unforeseen problems during and after implementation.

iv. Community communication

Effective and seamless communication with the Ethereum community is very important. Therefore, the lack of clarity or miscommunication may lead to uncertainties and possible backlash.

Ultimately, the Ethereum Dencun Upgrade in 2024 is anticipated to be a major leap for the Ethereum network. With its priority on security, scalability, and usability, this new upgrade intends to deal with integral challenges and open new opportunities for the Ethereum ecosystem. Nonetheless, while the Ethereum Decun upgrade holds several opportunities, acknowledging and handling these risks involved is critical for a successful transition. The entire Ethereum community, developers, and active users alike have to work together to work through these challenges. This way, the upgrade will have a positive impact on the ETH network.

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Emmanuel Agwu

Feb 20, 2024

9 mins read

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