Ethereum After Shapella: Developers Make Progress on Cancun-Deneb Upgrade

On Thursday, Ethereum core developers met to plan to modify the code of the blockchain consensus layer in preparation for the next Cancun-Deneb upgrade.

After enabling the Shapella upgrade earlier this month — which introduced a staked ETH withdrawal process for validators — the developers are now moving forward with the next upgrade, called “Cancun-Deneb,” scheduled for later this year.

To make ethereum more affordable for users, the upgrade will implement new changes on ethereum’s two mainnet layers: the execution layer, which handles smart contract execution, and the consensus layer, which focuses on blockchain consensus.

For clarity, the upgrade to the executive tier will be called Cancun. The consensus layer upgrade will be named Deneb – hence the merge upgrade Cancun-Deneb.

What’s next for Ethereum?

Ethereum’s Cancun-Deneb upgrade later this year expects the most significant change to be Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 4844, also known as “proto-danksharding.” Proposal EIP-4844 aims to enhance the scalability of Ethereum beyond the capabilities of current layer 2 solutions.

EIP-4844 aims to implement off-chain ephemeral storage and data retrieval using Ethereum nodes to meet the storage and data needs of blockchain applications. If successfully implemented, EIP-4844 is expected to reduce transaction costs for Layer 2 aggregation solutions, including Optimism and Arbitrum, compared to current rates.

EIP-4844 is widely supported by Ethereum core developers, zk-rollup and optimistic rollup teams, dapp developers, cros-chain bridge implementers, exchanges, etc. EIP-4844 is probably the most amassed community effort so far (besides Merge). That’s why the next upgrade after Shapella (Cancun – Deneb) will focus on EIP-4844.

The Cancun upgrade also includes some EIPs in CFI (Reviewed for Inclusion) status, most notably EOF (EVM Object Format), which was previously removed from the Shanghai upgrade. Essentially, EOF is a series of EIPs for the EVM that will allow versioning and running multiple sets of contract rules concurrently. This makes it easier to introduce or remove functionality, and can be a good prelude to introducing larger functionality in the future, such as account abstraction.

During the call, the developers announced that a fifth multi-client development network for testing EIP 4844 will be launched next week, as pointed out by Christine Kim, vice president of research at Galaxy Digital, who attended the conference’s developer session. Notably, EIP-4844 was tested on four other development networks.

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