More Improvement Needed: Vitalik Buterin Critiques Ethereum Txn Costs Following Arbitrum Growth

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, on Tuesday, published a blog post highlighting some of Ethereum’s user issues in need of improvements in the last three years. The insightful report comes barely days after Arbitrum, a layer one scaling solution for Ethereum, surpassed Ethereum in daily processed transactions for the first time since its inception in 2021.

Arbitrum had surpassed the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency twice in February—first with a margin of 10,000 transactions and 20,000 the second time. Cost per transaction is considered one of the most influential factors attracting more users to Arbitrum as it charges over 2000% less than Ethereum on average for a single transaction.

Vitalik, in his blog post, chiefly pointed to Ethereum’s rising cost as one of the network’s persistent Achilles heels in need of improvement. 

More Scale, Fewer Fees

While Ethereum has significantly improved its average transaction fees to a fraction of a dollar–during off-peak periods–since the merge, Vitalik believes more could be done to lower it even further as the blockchain continues to solve its scaling problems. Other problems highlighted are non-internet payment options and UI/UX fixes.

Contactless Pay for Ethereum

Citing an experience of a failed transaction ten years ago at a Sushi restaurant in San Francisco, Vitalik encouraged developers of crypto payment apps to integrate broader payment options like near-field communications that rely less on the internet.

“The internet is not 100% reliable, and customer internet is less reliable than merchant internet. We need in-person payment systems to have some functionality (NFC, customer shows a QR code, whatever) to allow customers to transfer their transaction data directly to the merchant if that’s the best way to get it broadcasted.”

Simple UI/UX Fails

Vitalik also highlighted some common UI complexities where users could not see real-time fluctuations in gas fees or are helplessly stuck with an unknown transaction status minutes after making them.

“There has been a surprisingly long time delay between my transaction getting accepted on-chain, and the service acknowledging the transaction, even as “unconfirmed”….there has [also] been a surprisingly long and unpredictable time delay between sending a transaction, and that transaction getting accepted in a block. Sometimes, a transaction would get accepted in a few seconds, but other times, it would take minutes or even hours.

EIP-1559 significantly improved this, ensuring that most transactions get accepted into the next block, and even more recently, the Merge improved things further by stabilizing block times….but wallet UIs suck at showing this. There are no big red flashing alerts and [a] very little clear indication of what you’re supposed to do to solve this problem.’

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