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Ethereum Layer-2 Fees Should Be Under $0.05 to Be ‘Truly Acceptable’: Vitalik Buterin

Though the Ethereum co-founder thinks projects are making “great progress” to drop gas fees, there’s still much more to be done.

3 min read
Portrait of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. Image: Matthew Reamer/Das Magazin/Foundation

Ethereum, the world’s leading smart contracts platform, has been historically plagued by high transaction costs.

Developers have been trying to address this issue through the so-called layer-2 solutions that help scale applications by processing transactions off of the Ethereum mainnet while maintaining the same level of security and decentralization.

While transaction fees on many layer-2 networks are indeed lower when compared to the Ethereum mainnet, Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of the network, reckons they need to be under five cents to be “truly acceptable.”

“Needs to get under $0.05 to be truly acceptable [in my opinion]. But we’re definitely making great progress, and even proto-danksharding may be enough to get us there for a while!” he tweeted on Tuesday.

The proto-danksharding that Buterin referred to in his tweet is a recently proposed improvement for Ethereum (EIP-4844) designed to help the network scale in the short term. The upgrade enables a new type of transaction called a “blob-carrying transaction” that carries extra data that can’t be accessed by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

Buterin’s tweet came as a response to a post from Ryan Sean Adams, the Bankless podcast host, who shared a screenshot of the average gas fees for eight popular layer-2 networks, calculated by L2 Fees.

The highest was Arbitrum One at $0.66 to send Ethereum and $0.92 for a token swap, while the lowest was the Metis Network at $0.02 to send Ethereum and $0.15 for a token swap.

For comparison, an average transaction on the Ethereum mainnet currently costs 0.005 ETH ($14.1), according to data from Bitinfocharts.

This figure was much higher following the May 1 Yuga Labs’ latest NFT collection launch, resulting in average gas fees spiking to nearly $200.

Buterin on Ethereum gas fees

This is not the first time the Ethereum co-founder has highlighted the issue of high gas fees on the network.

In July 2020, Buterin called for Ethereum’s fee market reform, arguing that high gas costs could make the network less secure.

Earlier this year, he also said that he still supports previous comments that "the internet of money should not cost more than 5 cents per transaction."

“That was the goal in 2017, and it's still the goal now. It's precisely why we're spending so much time working on scalability,” said Buterin at the time.

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