Ethereum: Dencun Upgrade Likely Delayed To Early Next Year

The anticipated Ethereum upgrade, dubbed Dencun, amalgamating the consensus layer (Deneb) and the execution layer (Cancun), is poised for a likely delay to early next year. The discussions during the Ethereum All Core Developers Consensus Call (ACDC) #118, chaired by Danny Ryan from the Ethereum Foundation, signposted this potential delay amid discussions surrounding the pivotal Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) such as EIP-4844. In a recent blog post, Galaxy Digital Vice President of Research, Christine Kim, highlighted the developments.

Delay Concerns And Strategic Discussions

Tim Beiko of the Ethereum Foundation, during the ACDC call, raised the prospect of Dencun not launching on the mainnet before the close of 2023, considering its absence on public testnets and the approaching Devconnect conference in November 2023. “If we don’t launch a [public] testnet before DevConnect, it’s probably unlikely we can go live on the mainnet before the Christmas holidays,” Beiko stated, hinting at a plausible deployment in 2024.

Core developers have centered their deliberations on the strategic deployment of Dencun, scrutinizing the sequence of its launch on the testnets like Goerli and Holesky. The focus has been on utilizing the deprecated testnet Goerli, permitting developers to assiduously experiment with Dencun specifications before transiting to Holesky. The consensus during the call leaned towards prioritizing the launch on Goerli to preclude any adverse ramifications on the long-lived network like Holesky.

Developments On Devnet-9

Devnet-9, serving as a precursor for Dencun, is slated to instigate the test phase next week, featuring the full suite of the Dencun upgrade and acting as the first testing ground for the activation of EIP 7514 and 7516. Parithosh Jayanthi, a DevOps Engineer at Ethereum Foundation, conveyed the team’s readiness for this impending launch, with several Execution Layer (EL) and Consensus Layer (CL) clients such as Lodestar, EthereumJS, Lighthouse, and Geth confirming their preparedness.

However, developers acknowledged the necessity for flexibility, allowing for the launch of Devnet-9 even if all clients are not ready, with Jayanthi affirming, “We can still start the devnet as long as we have at least a couple of clients ready and we can add the rest post [launch].”

Implementation Of EIP-4844

EIP-4844, or proto-danksharding, forms the cornerstone of the Dencun upgrade, poised to enhance Ethereum’s scalability and augmenting the capabilities of Layer 2 solutions. The upgrade addresses both the temporary storage and retrieval of off-chain data and aims to alleviate transaction costs on Layer 2 rollup solutions, such as Optimism and Arbitrum.

This proposal necessitated a meticulous verification process dependent on a secret value generated through a multi-party ceremony that spanned from January to August 2023. The deployment strategy for this EIP is currently under rigorous testing on Devnet-9, with developers mulling over the incorporation of a trusted setup derived from the multi-party ceremony results.

Carl Beek from the Ethereum Foundation is spearheading the conversion of these results into a standardized format, although he communicated that the timing for this conversion is “very tight” for the upcoming Devnet-9.

In conclusion, the Dencun upgrade, combining Deneb and Cancun, marks a significant step in Ethereum’s evolution, integrating vital improvements and focusing on scalability. However, the intricate processes, strategic decisions on deployment, and extensive testing phases underscore the complexity of this upgrade.

The likelihood of Dencun seeing the light of day this year appears dim, with early 2024 emerging as a probable timeframe for its deployment.

At press time, ETH traded at roughly $1,596.

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