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London Upgrade and its Impact on the Ethereum Network

Since the Ethereum network was upgraded less than two weeks ago, the average usage in terms of daily gas used rose by around 9%. Several reasons affected the Ethereum network.

Interestingly, Etherscan’s historical average daily gas used chart has shown a jump of around 9% since August 5. It rose from around 92 billion to a little over 100 billion. As a reminder, the last time it saw such a visible change was around April 21. At that time it jumped around 17%.

Nevertheless, the move is not the same as the peaks as well as troughs in gas prices, but a measured step up in average usage, indicative of overall network capacity.

The co-founder of Ethereum Vitalik Baturin posted an analysis on Reddit. He revealed interesting facts about the current situation.

The London upgrade also delayed the ‘Ethereum Ice Age’ which just started according to Vitalik Baturin. Consequently, average block times returned to their long-run normal level of around 13.1 seconds.

The difficulty bomb, which delayed the process refers to the increasing difficulty level or complexity of ‘puzzles’ in the proof-of-work mining algorithm. Moreover, as the calculations became harder, it results in longer than normal block times and lower rewards for miners.

Let’s move to the second reason. Importantly, the second reason for the increase is that there was more unused block space before the upgrade. After the London upgrade, that figure became the target and not the maximum. Notably, if the average gas used, including the empty blocks, is below 15 million, the base fee will decrease until the average is back to 15 million according to Baturin.

The third reason and the last one is also quite interesting. The EIP-159 formula is not perfect when it comes to targeting 50% of the base fee to be burned. There is a complex relationship between arithmetic as well as geometric means for block size and fee calculations. Currently, average blocks are slightly fuller (more than 50%) than they were before the upgrade. That factor also accounts for a slight increase in capacity.

Users likely won’t be happy about another gas spike resulting from the monkey minting NFT launch of CyberKongz. At the moment, the average transaction fee is close to $25. Ethereum users have to pay as much as $40 for a token swap. They have to pay even more for complex smart contract operations.

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