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Ethereum’s Network Strained as Blob Transactions Reach Utilization Limit Amid Inscription Surge

The Ethereum network is experiencing strain as demand for blob transactions skyrockets, pushing its capacity to the brink due to the growing popularity of inscriptions.

Blobs, introduced following the Ethereum network’s Dencun upgrade earlier this month, have emerged as a critical feature. The upgrade aimed to reduce the cost of Layer 2 transactions by replacing the traditional “calldata” method with blob transactions, resulting in cheaper transactions for end users. Layer 2 solutions like Arbitrum, Optimism, Base, and Linea have capitalized on this by utilizing blobs for transaction posting.

Following the Dencun upgrade, reports indicate a surge in blob transactions on Ethereum, surpassing the network’s set capacity. This surge underscores the immediate impact of the upgrade. Additionally, the introduction of inscriptions on blobs, inspired by Bitcoin Ordinals, has added a new layer of utility. Inscriptions allow users to embed unique fungible and non-fungible artifacts within transactions, enhancing their functionality.

Despite their ephemeral nature, with blobs being removed from the network after 18 days (though retained indefinitely by full archival nodes), their utilization has seen a remarkable uptick. According to recent analysis from Dune Analytics, 40% of blob transactions are now related to inscriptions, indicating a significant adoption rate. Ethereum’s Layer 2 solutions are witnessing the highest usage, with blobs emerging as a preferred choice.

Presently, the Ethereum network faces a challenge with blob contention, operating at full capacity. A considerable backlog in the mempool further exacerbates the situation, with 160 blobs awaiting processing. Given Ethereum’s current capacity to include only up to six blobs per block, the backlog is approximately 40 times higher than what the network can accommodate in a single block.

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