Dencun Upgrade

Ethereum Dencun Upgrade, also known as Cancun-Deneb, is a significant hard fork on network to address some of the key challenges Ethereum faces, particularly in terms of scalability, efficiency, and security. It is also known as the Cancun-Deneb upgrade.[21]


The Dencun(Cancun-Deneb) Upgrade is a significant hard fork upgrade for  aiming to reduce transaction costs on auxiliary networks by introducing a dedicated space for data storage called data . The upgrade is a milestone in Ethereum's development and will improve its scalability, security, and performance of the Ethereum through a series of .[25]

Dencun marks the beginning of  Surge phase in its roadmap. During this phase, Ethereum aims to achieve mass adoption while maintaining decentralization. solutions like  will play a crucial role in achieving scalability without compromising security.

The name “Dencun” is a blend of two simultaneous upgrades happening on both sides of the :

  • Cancun: This upgrade focuses on the execution layer, where all protocol rules reside.
  • Deneb: The consensus layer, which validates blocks.

Major goals of Dencun Upgrade

  • Increase transaction throughput: Dencun aims to address Ethereum's current scalability limitations, which have led to high gas fees and network congestion. It aims to increase the total number of computations the network can handle, making it more competitive with faster .
  • Reduce gas fees: By increasing transaction throughput, Dencun hopes to alleviate network congestion, leading to lower gas fees for users.
  • Lay the groundwork for full sharding: Dencun includes proto-danksharding, a crucial step towards full . Sharding involves splitting the blockchain into smaller, more manageable pieces, further improving scalability.

The Dencun Upgrade is scheduled for March 13, 2024. [4]

With the Cancun-Deneb Upgrade, there is a clear focus on improving Ethereum scalability through the creation of “data ”: a new transaction type intended to scale data availability for .[19][20]

Ethereum Roadmap

IThe MergeMove to  consensus
IIThe Surge-centric scaling to 100,000+ transactions per second
IIIThe ScourgeAvoid centralization and other protocol risks from maximal extractable value (MEV)
IVThe VergeVerifying blocks to become “super easy”
VThe PurgeSimplify the protocol and reduce the costs of running network nodes
VIThe Splurge“Fix everything else”


Ethereum Network

The Ethereum network is divided into two main layers: the Execution Layer and the Consensus Layer and the Dencun upgrade will include a series of improvements to both the execution layer (Cancun) and the consensus layer (Deneb) of the Ethereum network.

The Dencun Upgrade is part of Ethereum's ongoing evolution, building upon the successes of previous upgrades like the Shanghai upgrade.[22]

Execution Layer

The execution layer of Ethereum is the pre-Merge Ethereum . It is also known as Eth1, and is responsible for processing and executing and transactions on the chain. The execution layer is a major component of OP Stack, where it is referred to as the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine). Some examples of execution layer clients include:

  • Geth : A stable and reliable multithreaded execution client that can take advantage of your entire CPU
  • Nethermind : An Ethereum execution layer client built on .NET.core that is suitable for regular users and enterprise-grade dApps [2]

Execution layer hard forks are named after the cities that have previously hosted : Berlin -> London ->Shanghai -> Cancun -> Prague -> Osaka -> Bogotá.

and EIP-6780 are Cancun-specific (execution layer) Upgrades.[1]

Consensus Layer

Consensus layer is responsible for the agreement on the state of the network among all nodes. It ensures that all transactions and are validated and agreed upon via . Ethereum's Consensus Layer (Eth2) is a series of upgrades to Ethereum's . The goal of the upgrades is to improve the blockchain's speed and capacity, reduce transaction costs, and increase security. It ensures everyone is on the same page about which transactions occurred, when they happened, and in what order.  The consensus layer also provides a number of crucial services to the network including Timekeeping, Generating randomness, operations, Governance mechanisms. [1]
In September 2022, Ethereum successfully changed its by its transition away from (PoW) to (PoS). This transition was known as the merge.[3]

Each consensus layer upgrade is given the name of a star, with the names chosen in alphabetical order based on the first letter: Altair -> Bellatrix -> Capella -> Deneb -> Electra -> (F)unknown.[1]

EIPs integrated into the Dencun Upgrade

EIP-1153: Transient Storage opcodes

introduces transient storage opcodes, which aim to improve efficiency and reduce costs associated with storage operations during execution. EIP-1153 presents a significant advancement in optimizing transaction execution on the . EIP-1153 addresses gas inefficiencies, enhancing smart contract performance. [9][6][10][18]

EIP-4788: Beacon block root in the EVM

proposes to expose the beacon chain block root in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The Beacon chain block root is a type of accumulator used to prove arbitrary consensus states. By exposing the Beacon chain block root in the Ethereum Virtual Machine, it allows for access to the consensus layer with minimized trust. This improvement protocol also facilitates the development of use cases such as Staking pools and bridges, enhancing their trust assumptions.

EIP-4788 eliminates the need for trusted solutions in gaining information about Ethereum's consensus state. pools, such as Lido and , and re-staking applications like , stand to benefit.[5][6][7][17]

EIP-4844: Shard Blob Transactions

, also known as Proto-Danksharding, is a recent proposal that aims to scale Ethereum’s L2 structure, allowing to take advantage of a new fee market for embedded data. This improvement proposal is presented as a stopgap solution to scale Ethereum through rollups while , Ethereum’s layer 1 scaling strategy, gets implemented.

The changes in EIP-4844 would be compatible with the upcoming sharding solution, allowing for a seamless sharding implementation when it’s ready.[8][6][19]

EIP-5656: MCOPY - Memory copying instruction

is a proactive implementation of a new opcode that promises greater efficiency in how data may be moved in the EVM. Specifically,  introduces a new EVM instruction known as MCOPY.

MCOPY is designed to optimize the performance of memory copying within the EVM, offering a more efficient method for constructing data structures. It works by taking two memory pointers as input and copying the data from the source pointer to the destination pointer. The size of the data to be copied is specified by a third input parameter.

It is more efficient than the current method of memory copying in the EVM, which involves using a loop to copy the data one byte at a time. MCOPY is able to copy the data in bulk, which is much faster. It also has the advantage of being more concise than the current method of memory copying. MCOPY makes it easier to write and read .[1][15]

EIP-6780: SELFDESTRUCT only in same transaction

 is designed to disempower the SELFDESTRUCT opcode while causing minimal disruption to currently utilizing it. This proposal modifies the functionality of the SELFDESTRUCT opcode in preparation for the Verkle Tree architecture to be used in future Ethereum applications.

Currently, Ethereum applications use the architecture, and the SELFDESTRUCT opcode can be used to make significant changes to account states, such as deleting code and storage. However, when the Verkle Tree architecture is used in future Ethereum applications, it will not be easy to modify or delete accounts because Verkle Tree architecture stores each account in a different account key that is not connected to the root account.

Therefore, EIP-6780 proposes a modification to the functionality of the SELFDESTRUCT opcode. According to EIP-6780, the modified SELFDESTRUCT opcode will no longer have the ability to change or delete accounts when used, and will only be used to transfer ETH to the caller, except in the case where SELFDESTRUCT is called in the same transaction created by a smart contract.[1][14]

EIP-7044: Perpetually Valid Signed Voluntary Exits

addresses a significant limitation in the existing network related to the validity period of signed voluntary exits. Currently, these exits are only valid for the next two network upgrades, which imposes complex challenges, particularly in scenarios where operators differ from fund owners.

This proposal seeks to motivate the adoption of "perpetual validity" for signed voluntary exits on the Capella , ensuring that they remain valid indefinitely, regardless of any future upgrades.

The primary objectives of this proposal are to simplify the design of operations and enhance the user experience. This streamlines operations, ensures Consensus Layer compatibility, and mandates transitioning pre-signed exits to the Capella fork domain. The proposal simplifies staking.[11][16]

EIP-7045: Increase max attestation inclusion slot

 introduces a critical change in the network by extending the maximum inclusion slot for attestations. This proposal seeks to enhance the security and efficiency of Ethereum's . Currently, attestations have a limited window for inclusion, but EIP-7045 widens that window, enabling attestations to be valid until the end of the next epoch.

This shift is rooted in the evolving understanding of LMD-GHOST security proofs and the need for a new confirmation rule. By allowing attestations to remain valid for an extended period, Ethereum can improve its security while also enhancing its performance, particularly in confirming blocks in a more timely manner.[13][16]

EIP-7514: Add Max Epoch Churn Limit

aims to cap the epoch churn rate in Ethereum's Beacon Chain to control the validator growth rate, shifting it from exponential to linear. This measure is in response to concerns about the scalability of Ethereum clients managing a large validator set, potential centralization risks due to the dominance of platforms like , and the financial burdens on solo stakers.

EIP-7514 aims to introduce a short-term solution capping the validator churn rate to give Ethereum's developers and stakeholders more time to work on long-term strategies.[12][18]

EIP-7516: BLOBBASEFEE instruction

 introduces the BLOBBASEFEE opcode in , which allows to access the current base fee for data on-chain directly. This helps contracts to manage and predict their data blob costs more effectively.

The BLOBBASEFEE instruction returns the value of the blob base-fee of the current block it is executing in. It is identical to the BASEFEE opcode as defined in EIP-3198 except that it returns the blob base-fee as per .[23][24]

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Dencun Upgrade

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April 13, 2024


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