Ethereum’s Istanbul update might support 200x more transactions per second

According to claims by Vitalik Buterin and others in the Ethereum community, the Istanbul hard fork is able to handle 3000 transactions per second, a huge step up from the current 15.

This is allegedly a result of EIP-2028, one Ethereum Improvement Proposal within Istanbul that reduces the gas cost of “calldata,” where¬†data from external calls to functions is stored. EIP-2028 doesn’t specifically say how many more transactions Eth will be able to fit into one second, but Vitalik put out a firm number and others agree with him.

“Optimistic rollup, 3000+ TPS post-Istanbul Non-interactive ZKPs for privacy and scalability Your staking will be rewarded Much more TPS post-sharding” – @vitalikbuterin

Eric Conner, Founder of EthHub, was the one to specify for non code readers which EIP would be making this improvement possible.

“Did you know that the Istanbul upgrade includes an EIP that allows Ethereum to scale up to 3000 TPS?,” he continued “That is thanks to EIP-2028 that lowers the gas cost of calldata.” – @econoar

Blockchains already exist that can reach these speeds, but they sacrifice either a community, decentralization or security. Still, some people are skeptical of the claims, or they think they’re just outright lies.

“So far, no public chain can reach 3000TPS. After Istanbul upgrade, isn’t it the world’s first public chain TPS? I look forward to it, but I dare not hold much hope.” -@karambyrne

Except ethereum wont scale to 2000 TPS at block 9069000. You are talking about an hypothetical zk rollup based payment layer, which cannot interact with existing smart contracts at this scale, and with serious data availability issues. – @amxx

Ethereum Transactions Chart
Ethereum transactions over time. Credit: Etherscan

Above is a chart of Ethereum transactions since 2015. Transactions are strongly correlated to price, but there is a clear difference between the 2018 drop in price compared to drops in transactions. During the 2019 bull run, Ethereum’s price only reached around 20% of its peak value while transactions spiked back to over 50% of peak volume. After 2019’s peak price, Ethereum’s transactions maintained a stable consistency while its price has continuously dropped.

This is all to say that people are transacting within Ethereum and the network could use an extra bump in speed. Some argue that transactions settled on Ethereum is what will continue to drive its price, since miners (or stakers) will receive gas fees charged as a form of return. The more return Ethereum can bring investors, the more appealing it will be for others to participate, creating demand. Holding ETH is also necessary in order to transact on the network, because it is how gas fees are paid.

Istanbul was supposed to be implemented yesterday, December 4th, but only 40% of the network was ready for it. Now, it is scheduled to be released on December 6th.