Ethereum London hard fork EIP-1559, 3198, 3529, 3541, 3554 upgrade

Ethereum is expected to upgrade the London hard fork at block height 12965000 on August 4, 2021. The London upgrade includes 5 EIPs, namely, modifying the handling fee rules, reducing gas refunds, modifying the content of smart contract opcodes, and delaying difficulty bombs, among which EIP-1559 has the most impact.

The history of Ethereum

Ethereum has four development stages, namely Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis and Serenity. The transition of these four stages is achieved through a hard fork. The first three stages are all adopted a proof-of-work (POW) system, while the last stage adopts a proof-of-stake (POS) system.

Serenity is the stage where the transition from Ethereum POW to POS is completed, and it also marks that Ethereum has truly reached the 2.0 stage. A key vision of ETH 2.0 is to make the Ethereum blockchain network more energy-efficient, fast, secure, and decentralized.

5 EIPs of the London hard fork

  • EIP 1559ETH 1.0 fee market reform
  • EIP 3198 adds BASEFEE opcode
  • EIP 3529 reduces Gas refund
  • EIP 3541 rejects new smart contracts starting with 0xEF
  • EIP 3554 difficulty bomb postponed to December 1, 2021

EIP 1559: The fee market reform of ETH 1.0

EIP 1559 is the biggest reform that will be introduced in the’London’ upgrade. EIP 1559 was first proposed in 2019, and after many discussions and code implementations, it will finally be applied after the London fork. The main content of EIP 1559 is the fee reform, which uses a different gas fee collection method from ETH 1.0.

At present, how much the ETH 1.0 fee is charged is set by the user, and it is all the income of the miners. The higher the fee, the faster the transaction will be packaged on the chain, and many users have a transaction because the fee is set too low. It cannot be completed for a long time and is in an unconfirmed transaction status. Ethereum has limited resources, and the fee is collected by auction. When the network is congested, the fee will rise, and the number of pending transactions will also increase. Through the Tokenview Ethereum browser, you can see that the number of unconfirmed transactions in Ethereum is around 190,000:

Ethereum London hard fork

EIP 1559 will introduce a’basic fee’ in the block, and the handling fee is divided into two parts, the basic fee and the miner’s tip. The basic fee is the minimum cost required for the transaction, which is directly destroyed by the system, and the tip is the miner’s fee earned by the miner.

The basic fee will track the gas price of the Ethereum network, and the gas price depends on the user’s demand for block space. The new fee rules do not specify the gas limit of the block, the size can be flexibly changed, and the basic fee can be adjusted according to the change.

EIP 3198: Add BASEFEE opcode

EIP 3198 adds the BASEFEE opcode, the purpose of which is to return the base fee of the current block. Smart contracts can also access the basic fee value, which helps to submit fraud proofs and create trust-free gas price derivatives.

EIP 3529: Reduce gas refund

The gas refund was originally intended to incentivize developers to clear the state when possible, but after the appearance of the Gas Token, the gas refund led to an increase in the size of the state. After EIP 3529 is upgraded, users can mint Gas Token when the gas price is low, and then destroy it when the gas price is high, and get a refund.

EIP 3541: Reject new smart contracts starting with 0xEF

EIP 3541 lays the foundation for EIP 3540’s EVM improvement proposal. EIP 3541 is implemented, and new contracts beginning with 0xEF bytecode will not be able to be deployed. Existing contracts will not be affected.

EIP 3554: The difficulty bomb postponed to December 1, 2021

EIP 3554 will postpone the difficulty bomb. Difficulty Bomb/Ice Age is a mechanism introduced by Ethereum to’freeze’ mining during the transition of the Ethereum network to proof of rights and interests. At that time, the Ethereum network will either successfully transition to proof-of-stake or upgrade again.


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