Meet ‘Dencun.’ Ethereum Developers Are Already Planning Next Hard Fork

The next major upgrade for the blockchain will include “proto-danksharding,” though developers are still deciding what else to include in the hard fork.

AccessTimeIconMay 11, 2023 at 5:59 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 9, 2024 at 11:08 p.m. UTC

Ethereum developers, fresh off of last month's successful Shapella upgrade, which enabled staked ETH withdrawals, are already moving full-steam ahead in planning the next major change that the blockchain will undergo.

Get ready for “Dencun.”

The name is a portmanteau of two simultaneous upgrades happening on the two main layers of the blockchain. The execution layer, where all protocol rules reside, will undergo the “Cancun” upgrade, while on the consensus layer, which makes sure that blocks are validated, it’s known as “Deneb.”

So developers are cleverly referring to the whole thing as “Dencun” – just like they Brangelina-d the simultaneous Shanghai and Capella upgrades into “Shapella”.

At the heart of Dencun is EIP 4844, more commonly known as “proto-danksharding.” The proposal aims to scale the blockchain by increasing space for “blobs” of data. The changes are also expected to reduce fees for layer 2 rollups.

Ahead of Shapella, developers decided that EIP 4844 would be pushed to the next upgrade, given it was too big of a task to include with staked ETH withdrawals.

On an official call Thursday, Ethereum developers delved into the technical details of EIP 4844.

Tim Beiko, the protocol support lead at the Ethereum Foundation, who conducts these bi-monthly meetings, opened the meeting with, “I'll assume that, by default, we sort of keep this scope for Cancun and if anybody wants to change it going forward, just put something in the agenda.” (Dencun doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and the developers themselves sometimes just say “Cancun.”)

The developers didn’t discuss the timing of the Dencun upgrade on Thursday, though they have said in the past that their aim is to push it live in the second half of 2023.

Dencun is also expected to include a few other technical upgrades known as EIPs 6780, 6475 and 1153.

As for the full scope of what Dencun will look like? That’s to be determined over the next few weeks. The developers are testing out other EIPs before they solidify what other proposals will make it into the next big hard fork.


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Margaux Nijkerk

Margaux Nijkerk reports on the Ethereum protocol and L2s. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and Emory universities, she has a masters in International Affairs & Economics. She holds a small amount of ETH and other altcoins.