Ethereum scaling solution Polygon proposes hardfork to address reorgs and gas spikes

  • The latest hardfork will help to address the reduction in gas fee spikes by altering the value of baseFee Change Denominator.
  • The hardfork also seeks to address the issue of chain reorgs and reduce the vulnerability in this part.

On Thursday, January 12, Polygon Labs announced that they shall proceed ahead with hardforking the network earlier next week, tentatively by January 17. The decision has come after a heated debate in the Polygon community last month.

In its latest blog post, Polygon Labs has noted that the hardfork scheduled for next week will address chain reorganizations dubbed reorgs and also gas fee spikes. The hardfork will change the BaseFeeChangeDenominator from its current value of 8 to 16. It will further make it smooth to increase/decrease the rate of baseFee whenever the gas exceeds or falls under the target gas limits in a block.

Unlike soft forks, hardforks aren’t backward compatible and they require all node operators on the network to update to the latest software at a specific period of time. Polygon, the Ethereum sidechain and the Layer-2 scalability platform, operates on the Proof-of-Stake mechanism. Thus, it already has a very low gas fee in comparison to the Ethereum mainnet.

Despite this, the Polygon blockchain has witnessed traffic spikes in the past slowing the network. Last year in 2022, NFT game “Sunflower Farmers” clogged the Polygon blockchain. The Ethereum scalability platform is confident that this modification will work since they have backtested such changes “against historical Polygon PoS mainnet data.”

Polygon to Minimize the Issue of Chain Reorganization

Polygon noted that chain reorgs have been a major problem and they are looking to minimize this issue with the upcoming hardfork upgrade. Chain reorganizations basically occur because of malicious attacks or network errors and cause the blockchain to split into two.

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Thus, as long as the reorgs last, it can further lead to lost or duplicate transactions. Last year, Ethereum’s Beacon Chain suffered a similar reorg which made the network vulnerable to attack and could have led to duplicate transactions worth thousands of dollars. Speaking on this development, Mateusz Rzeszowski, Polygon governance facilitator, of reorgs said:

It is still prevalent and a cause for concern among dapp developers. One of the ways identified to mitigate the issue is to reduce the sprint length from the current 64 blocks to 16 blocks.

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If Rzeszowski’s suggestion is taken into consideration, it would reduce the amount of time it takes for confirming a transaction. It would further reduce the likelihood of reorgs occurring on the network.

To prepare for the hard fork, all Polygon node operators will have to upgrade their nodes before January 17. However, the holders of Polygon’s native crypto MATIC won’t need to take any action. Similarly, any DApps running on Polygon such as Web3 games won’t need to take any action either.

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Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair for understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In his free time, he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explores his culinary skills.

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