Ethereum gas fees could see a significant reduction, thanks to StarkWare’s innovative scaling functionality, Volition. The new product aims to revolutionize the Ethereum network by drastically reducing transaction fees, making micropayments comparable to Bitcoin’s Lightning Network a reality.
Reducing Ethereum Gas Fees
Volition, set to launch with Starknet v0.13.0 later this year, aims to eliminate the major barrier to microtransactions, according to StarkWare CEO Uri Kolodny. By doing so, it will enable crypto for coffee transactions and play a crucial role in fostering crypto adoption, especially in developing economies.
The Persistent Issue of Ethereum Gas Fees
Gas fees, also known as Ethereum fees, have long been a concern for users of the Ethereum network. Despite recent major upgrades, high fees persist, posing challenges for users, especially those involved in frequent transactions or decentralized applications (dapps).
Data from Bitinfocharts reveals that as of June 22, the average transaction fee on Ethereum was around $4.80—a significant improvement from the peak of over $27 recorded just last month. However, even with this reduction, high fees remain a significant obstacle to Ethereum’s mainstream adoption.
Unlocking New Use Cases with Volition
In addition to enabling crypto for coffee transactions, Volition presents a range of possibilities previously unattainable within the Ethereum ecosystem.
- On-Chain Voting Governance: Volition aims to make on-chain voting more accessible and affordable by significantly reducing costs. With reduced fees, individuals can actively participate in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) without the hindrance of high transaction expenses.
- Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs): Volition opens doors for NFTs by providing a cost-effective environment for their creation and trade. Artists and creators can leverage the platform to mint and sell their digital assets, expanding the reach and adoption of NFTs.
- Enhancing In-Game Assets: For on-chain gaming, Volition liberates game designers to create more immersive experiences. By enabling the offering of assets at various price points, including low-cost items, developers can attract a broader user base. Previously, high fees made it uneconomical to trade assets of minimal value, but Volition solves this problem.
Separating Data Availability
Technically, Starknet is a decentralized and permissionless Validity Rollup functioning as a Layer-2 network built on Ethereum. It enhances computational scalability for decentralized applications (dapps) while preserving the security features of the Ethereum network.
With the introduction of Volition, developers gain the ability to optimize transactions by selecting the data availability mode for each storage variable. Starknet implements two separate storage commitment trees: one for Layer-1 data availability (on Ethereum mainnet) and another for Layer-2 data availability (on Starknet Layer-2).
The Importance of Data Availability
Data availability refers to the accessibility and persistence of stored data in a blockchain. In public networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum, all information is stored on every node, resulting in higher costs for every block indefinitely.
Volition provides users with flexibility by distributing data more selectively, saving costs while ensuring accessibility. By storing data on Layer-2 instead of Layer-1, users can optimize their expenditure on data availability, particularly for small-value transactions.
Data availability plays a crucial role in allowing users to calculate the chain’s state independently, facilitating continued asset transactions even if other nodes cease cooperation.
Enabling User Control and Lower Gas Fees
Traditionally, users always pay for Layer-1 data availability, which inflates transaction fees for small-value transactions. Volition’s groundbreaking feature of pushing data to Layer-2 for these transactions paves the way for micro-transactions. Developers and users can now choose between cheaper or more expensive on-chain storage options, offering greater control over costs.
StarkWare estimates that this shift to Layer-2 could reduce gas fees by up to 90%, addressing a longstanding concern within the blockchain community.
Use Cases and Future Developments
Volition’s versatility extends beyond microtransactions and data availability. It has potential implications for decentralized exchanges (DEXs), enabling traders to reduce fees by keeping funds at the Layer-2 level and moving them to Layer-1 when significant amounts are involved, prioritizing security.
Initially utilized on StarkEx, a permissioned version of Starknet designed for protocols, Volition is set to go live on Starknet in the third quarter of 2023, bringing a wave of possibilities for cost-effective transactions and enhanced scalability on the Ethereum network.