Danksharding?! But Don't Judge a Book by its Cover!

By Michael @ CryptoEQ | CryptoEQ | 12 May 2022


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Reducing calldata costs

Current implementations of rollups use calldata. However, the EVM is not optimized to process rollup data in a cost-efficient manner. This is because rollups were not even an idea when the EVM was built! Regardless, the EVM assumes data in a transaction will be processed by a smart contract and charges for it accordingly (more expensive).  Unfortunately, this approach does not do rollups any favors.

In the future, rollups will evolve to using sharded data (also called “blobs”) because sharded data will be that much cheaper. A new upgrade to Ethereum which targets rollups (EIP-4488) is currently being considered by the Ethereum community and would reduce the cost of posting this calldata onto the mainnet. 

Rollups offer many-to-many transactions, smart-contract capabilities, and significantly-reduced total L1 block space requirements, all while extending Ethereum’s security assurance to the L2.

Technically speaking, a rollup is a single contract on the main L1 that holds all funds and a cryptographic commitment to a “sidechain” state. The sidechain/rollup is maintained by a small set of operators off-chain without significantly impacting L1 storage. The reason this “small set” does not introduce centralization is because a rollup’s block producer could attempt to act nefariously, but if it does, the Ethereum L1 will simply reject the “bad batch” and financially penalize the bad actor.

EIP-4844 is a proposal for a temporary solution until a more permanent solution entitled “danksharding” is fully ready to be implemented. EIP-4844 introduces “blob-carrying” transactions as a means of storage for rollups. It is an entirely new transaction format and only the blob’s hash can be accessed via a new opcode. This guarantees the data content will never be accessed by the EVM reduces the gas cost of posting the data compared to with calldata. Blob transactions can enable up to ~1MB average per block for data storage as opposed to the 10KB currently with calldata and it has been proposed that they could be pruned (removed) from the L1 after a ~month to reduce storage overhead requirements. Blob transactions are compatible with all rollups, Optimistic and ZK.


Danksharding, from Ethereum core developer @dankrad, is a long-term solution for optimizing rollups with a sharded architecture. Danksharding is designed to circumvent Maximal Extracted Value (MEV) by introducing two new roles into the Ethereum ecosystem: builder and proposer.

As discussed previously, a block proposer (or miner) in a traditional blockchain (like Ethereum currently) can choose which transactions to include from the memepool into the next block based on the highest transaction fees.

PBS Danksharding looks to fix this by dividing the block proposer role into two separate roles: builders and proposers. The builder does not get to choose which transactions to include, rather, it is fed a list of transactions from the proposers in the form of a special list called a crList. “crList” forces the builders to include certain transactions, eliminating their potential to censor transactions. By forcing builders to be honest, the protocol stays trustless. 

While crList specifies which transactions the builder is forced to include, it does not specify the order of the transactions.  Builders can then reorder the transactions within the crList to maximize their MEV. This essentially optimizes MEV benefits for miners, while precluding builders from censoring transactions.




Danksharding results in execution blocks and shard blocks being built together. This means there will be no delays in shard blocks confirmation and all data will be immediately available to L1. Because there are no separate shards specifically for transactions, the L1 mainnet can serve as both a settlement and data availability layer, reducing complexity in the system. This has been estimated to improve L1 throughput ~6400x.

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Michael @ CryptoEQ
Michael @ CryptoEQ

I am a Co-Founder and Lead Analyst at CryptoEQ. Gain the market insights you need to grow your cryptocurrency portfolio. Our team's supportive and interactive approach helps you refine your crypto investing and trading strategies.


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