Andrey Zamovskiy from Ambisafe has raised his concern on the Ethereum forums about the rising gas price. Ambisafe is a company that created the first live Ehtereum currency, Elcoin and is currently building the next government voting system for Ukraine using the Ethereum blockchain. According to Andrey large-scale decentralized applications need fast confirmation times and transaction price that make economical sense.

To run decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain costs gas, and costs Ether. As the current price surge from $2 per Ether (ETH) to a staggering $11.5 per Ether (ETH) the cost of gas has sky rocketed. When Ambisafe launched Elcoin, the cost of transaction was fraction of a cent ($0.001) now the users are paying $0.03 per transaction.

Andrey Zamovskiy:

If i understood the idea properly, the gas price was supposed to go down proportionally to the Ether currency price increase.

We’ve already spent several thousands dollars on transaction fees and feel like a scammed customers.

I’m pretty sure that this trend will continue and Ethereum transaction will quickly become more expensive than embedding data into bitcoin transaction, which is complete nonsense for the smart contracts-optimized network.

This makes public Ethereum blockchain useless for most of the distributed applications. In distributed applications almost every action of a user is a transaction of some kind. And since transactions are now so expensive, it just does not fit business models.

According to the developer of Ethereum the price of gas will go down in the release of homestead which is set to happen on the block nr: 1150000 which will take place around midday on Pi Day (14 march 2016).

Vitalik Buterin wrote in a reddit post:

I just ran an experiment to see what how well transactions at different gas price levels would fare; see code here:

http://pastebin.com/s5cY2xF3

Basically, I created 25 transactions at gas price levels going from 0 shannon to 48 shannon, published them all (using [].map(function(x) { return eth.sendRawTransaction(x) })), and then checked them all (using [].map(function(x) { return eth.getTransaction(x).blockNumber })) to see when they got included into a block.

I did this around block 1109967; the results are as follows:

[null, null, null, null, null, null, null, null, null, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109981, 1109979, 1109968, 1109968]

Hence, you can see that most miners accept transactions with gasprice above 45 shannon (not 50!), but a percentage of miners also accept 18 shannon. This percentage however is low enough (or possibly the miners all take 20 shannon but the relay nodes have not yet upgraded) that it takes a while for the transactions to get in.

Hence, if you are fine with a ~2 minute extra confirmation time, you can start sending transactions with a 20 shannon gas price now, If you want the network to start accepting 20 shannon transactions, please upgrade to homestead regardless of whether you are a miner or a regular node. In the medium term, we could obviously reduce the fee further, but we are also thinking about various dynamic gas pricing strategies so that we don’t have to do this manually. If you are a miner, you can right now run with –gasprice “10000000000” to set the gas price that you accept transactions at to 10 shannon (or change the value to whatever you want).

The interesting part of this post is that we can see a gas price market in the making, as Vitalik is urging miners to accept contracts with lower gas prices to be included in the blocks. By looking at the resent average Ethereum gas price cost we can see that it is already started to take affect.

ether-avg-gas-price

However, is this enough to satisfy large-scale developers and what will happen to the price of gas if the Etherum price goes up another 100%?

Andrey Zamovskiy:

It is really critical for us to see a roadmap of transaction cost decrease with clearly defined dates and milestones, because currently we have no choice other than switching to private networks.

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