Vitalik Buterin Targets Faster Transaction Confirmations with New Proposals

Vitalik Buterin 1

Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum co-founder, has announced new strategies to reduce the transaction confirmation times on the Ethereum network.

Acknowledging the necessity for faster transaction speeds, he highlighted the need for latencies in the “hundreds of milliseconds or even less” for certain applications.

New Strategies to Reduce Transaction Time

In a June 30 blog post, Buterin highlighted Ethereum’s progress, noting the confirmation window is at 5-20 seconds, comparable to credit card transactions. However, Buterin believes there is room for further improvements using new strategies.

One of them, Single-Slot Finality, will streamline the existing complex slot and epoch architecture. By ensuring that each new block is finalized before the next one is proposed, SSF could drastically reduce transaction confirmation times. The proposal, however, poses certain challenges, especially the additional load it is expected to place on the blockchain due to the frequent messages sent by validators.

Another promising approach is Rollup Preconfirmations, where transaction confirmations are delegated to Layer 2 protocols. These protocols, such as Optimism, Arbitrum, and Base, leverage Ethereum’s security while processing transactions at a larger scale and speed. This division of labor allows the network’s base layer to focus on core functions like censorship resistance and stability. On the other hand, the Layer 2 solutions will handle faster transaction processing.

Buterin also proposed that users offer additional fees for immediate transaction guarantees. This mechanism would allow transactions to be included in the next block, improving security and reliability. The approach is particularly beneficial for Layer 2 solutions.

Ethereum’s Competitive Landscape

In comparison to Bitcoin’s 10-minute block time, Ethereum’s 12-second block generation is significantly faster. Yet it still lags behind competitors like Solana, which achieves block times of 0.4 seconds and has been criticized for its complexity.

Buterin acknowledged that a 12-second block time is sufficient for certain applications. However, alternatives like the slot-and-epoch architecture are necessary for others requiring greater speed.

He added that he sees a future where Single-Slot Finality (SSF) and Rollup Preconfirmations are implemented together. Techniques such as Orbit SSF could reduce the number of validators signing per slot, potentially extending slot times to 16 seconds while maintaining the goal of reducing the 32 ETH staking minimum. This will provide better options for both L1 and L2 users, simplify the tasks for L2 developers, and improve the network in the long term.

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