ETH gas fees back down!

By bengy | Idle Musings | 1 May 2021

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It has been quite a long time since the gas fees on Ethereum have been manageable.... in fact, I think it has been nearly a year or so (or at least it feels like that...) since I was able to make transactions or interact with smart contracts on Ethereum without doing some serious analysis as to whether or not it was even worth posting the transaction to the network!

Thankfully, most of my interaction on Ethereum was locked in time contracts that didn't need much on the fly adjustment due to my relatively cautious settings (and no borrowing...). I had played around with DeFi when it was a new thing, but had always stuck to the liquidity provision and loans... avoiding the borrowing and yield farming (except through aggregators).

The thing that had required the most adjustment was the Sythentix staking which needed to stay overcollateralised at roughly 600% of the sUSD minted. It meant that I couldn't claim the staking rewards that popped up every week, but it meant that I wouldn't get liquidated as the price of SNX just kept going up and I ended up being stupidly highly over-collateralised! Even still, the SNX rewards that I picked up before the ETH gas fees became too much have ended up being quite lucrative, but I took the first chance to spend ETH to escape to the Optimistic Ethereum L2 as soon as it rolled out!

I've seen other L2 solutions pop up on the other projects on Ethereum, but I've not bothered yet to shift to those, as there is a great deal of lost composibility by escaping to a side-chain that hasn't been solved yet. The problem lies in the lack of synchonicity between the side chains and the main Ethereum chain and the two different approaches of SK-SNARKS and the Optimistic Rollups implementations. Namely, whether to initially "trust" transactions and leave a window for fraud targeting, or to not trust and check at writing. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, especially in the way that they handle smart contract interactions over simple token transfers.

Anyway, usually I've had to wait until the low ETH gas times of the weekend and the evenings of Europe and North America in order to try and catch the low ETH fee periods of the week. That would mean that I could send through some transactions that were not time critical... and for the time critical transactions, I would just have to bit the bullet and pay the fees!

However, this past week has seen some pretty crazily low ETH gas fees during the week! So, I immediately took the chance to send through some transactions that had been sitting on the shelf waiting for ETH2.0 to roll out!


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I even took the opportunity to pick up some extra tokens on Uniswap that I had been interested in but had been holding off on! However, I soon found out that the gas prices were low, but the volatility from block to block was quite high... and so, the preconfigured gas price from Uniswap (at 70 Gwei) was not quite enough for a transaction on a high volatility asset... my fault, I had gotten lazy and complacent, and I didn't set the slippage tolerance high enough!


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... so, a failed transaction due to slippage. No problem, jam it through again with a slightly higher gas fee and a higher slippage tolerance!

Now, I'm sure that a few people will say... just hop to BSC or something like that where the fees are low. Yes... but, the bulk of the money is still on Ethereum, and the decentralisation is more secure there (plus, there has been some recent jankiness over there as well)... plus, I'm not convinced that the fees will forever stay low at 5-10 gwei. I think that it mostly stays there because people haven't figured out (or aren't offered the option via mobile wallets) how to set custom gas fees and limits. Once people start the upward pressure on offered gas fees to prioritise their transactions, the race will start... I know that I've already sent a few transactions with higher than normal fees to get them processed faster.


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Originally published on my HIVE/STEEM blog!

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I am a Musician (Violinist/Violist) specialising in Early Music living in The Netherlands. I have a background in Mathematics and Physics due to an earlier tertiary level study... and so, I'm still quite interested in Science and Technology related stuff!

Idle Musings
Idle Musings

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