Over a week after implementing the Shanghai upgrade, Ethereum developers have set their eyes on the subsequent code changes affecting both the network’s execution layer (EL) and consensus layer (CL).
Ethereum is undergoing a series of upgrades to improve its scalability, security, and functionality, and the latest upgrade, Shanghai, was activated on April 12. It introduced several code changes to the blockchain’s execution layer for processing transactions and smart contracts.
According to Ethereum researcher Christine Kim, Ethereum developers are not resting on their laurels and have already begun plotting the next batch of improvements.
Kim said that the network’s latest All Core Developers Consensus (ACDC) call, which took place on April 20, was primarily devoted to its next upgrade, Cancun/Deneb, which they expected to happen later this year after a series of testnets and audits.
Deneb upgrade to improve consensus layer
The Deneb upgrade is a significant update to the Ethereum network that aims to improve scalability, security, and usability.
The upgrade consists of two parts: Cancun, which will focus on Ethereum’s execution layer, and Deneb, which will seek to improve its consensus layer: the part of the network that ensures agreement among all nodes on the state of the blockchain.
One of the main features of the Cancun/Deneb upgrade will be the implementation of Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) 4844.
This proposal introduces a new type of transaction called blob transactions, designed to enable more efficient data storage and retrieval on Ethereum.
Blob transactions will allow users to store large amounts of data on the blockchain without clogging up the network or paying high fees.
To test and coordinate the implementation of EIP 4844, Ethereum developers have been launching devnets, which are temporary test networks that run the latest code changes.
EIP 4788 and 6914 on the agenda
In addition to EIP 4844, Ethereum developers are considering several other code modifications for the Deneb upgrade.
The first is EIP 4788, which will enable trustless access to the CL via smart contracts run on the EL. Many expect it to be useful for staking pools, restaking protocols, and MEV mitigations, among other applications.
Another improvement proposal discussed at the 107th ACDC, according to Christine Kim, was EIP 6914, which would enable reusing index numbers belonging to validators that had quit the network and had not been active for some time.
The developers expect this EIP will help reduce the unending increase in the validator list as validators leave and new ones join the network. However, some believe that the complexity of EIP 6914 warrants pushing the code change to the next hard fork after Deneb.