Miners Boost Ethereum's Transaction Capacity With Gas Limit Increase

Ethereum miners are raising the network’s transaction capacity, a move that comes amid criticism about blockchain congestion.

Jun 29, 2017 at 8:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. UTC

Ethereum miners are raising the network's transaction capacity, a move that comes amid criticism about blockchain congestion.

Network data shows that the gas limit of ethereum's transaction blocks has been on the rise since earlier today. Gas is a kind of computation cost within ethereum, which users pay in order to issue transactions or perform other actions on the network. A higher gas limit means that more more actions could be performed per-block.

According to data on ethereum statistics provider Etherchain, the increase started around 9:20 UTC, crossing the 5m mark just before 11:00 UTC. At press time, the network's limit is roughly 6.3m gas, representing a roughly 33% increase overall.

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Complaints about congestion have come about in light of recent initial coin offerings, during which a higher-than-average amount of transactions leads to longer waiting times for inclusion in a block, have led to calls from some segments of the ethereum community for the gas limit to be increased. Both the cost of gas itself as well as where the limit ought to be set has implications for the network's functionality as well as its decentralization, as previously explored by CoinDesk.

Yet some miners were initially slow to adopt the raised gas limit despite calls for an increase, as a higher limit can increase the frequency of uncle blocks, or blocks that are mined but don't form the longest chain of transactions. Unlike bitcoin's orphaned blocks, ethereum's uncle blocks are compensated.

The gas limit increase comes as the ethereum network continues to see a rise in the total amount of transactions per-day. Data from Etherscan shows that on 26th June, the network saw 316,788 transactions, the most-ever recorded on the network.

Concurrently, the amount of gas spent on transactions has also continued to climb. Per Etherscan, 15.2bn gas was spent on transactions on 27th June. The highest amount recorded to date, 16.9bn, was reported on 22nd June.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Etherscan. 

Images via Etherchain, Shutterstock

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