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Ethereum Pectra Upgrade

Ethereum Pectra Upgrade is an upcoming upgrade introducing -like capabilities to standard (EIP-3074) and a number of other improvements. The term ‘Pectra’ is derived from two simultaneous upgrades taking place – Prague at the execution level and Electra at the consensus layer – on Ethereum. All these improvements in Pectra address existing challenges while developing a strong foundation for the Ethereum ecosystem. [1][2]

Overview

core developers discussed that they aim to ship the Pectra upgrade by the first quarter of 2025. Pectra represents the next major update for Ethereum, succeeding the , which was effectively implemented in March 2024. [3][6]

Another significant improvement the Pectra upgrade brings is maximizing the limit of effective balance for Validators. This upgrade embodies Ethereum core developer’s strategic approach to prepare for larger changes in future and improve overall user experience. It is a part of the developer’s ongoing efforts of making Ethereum more scalable and efficient with added functionalities. [2]

Key EIPs () included in Pectra:

  • Account Abstraction (EIPs 3074, 5806, 7377): Streamline transaction authorization and facilitate asset migration for improved usability.
  • EIP-7251: Increasing maximum effective balance for validators to 2048
  • EIP-7610: Reverting creation for addressing existing (non-empty) storage.
  • EIP-7523: Improves network efficiency by formalizing the exclusion of empty accounts from Ethereum's state.
  • EIP-7623: Increasing calldata costs which results in optimized block size and storage.
  • EIP-7639: Reducing data storage requirements by limiting pre-Merge data.
  • EIP-5920: Simplifying ETH transfers without triggering recipient functions in a transaction.
  • EIP-7609: Lowering transient storage costs that unlocks broader use of smart contracts.
  • EIP-2537: Introducing cryptographic improvements and enhancements for network security and scalability. [2][4]

Key Improvements in Pectra Upgrade

Smart contract capability to standard wallets (EIP-3074)

The EIP-3074 upgrade bridges the gap between traditional and smart contracts. This improvement introduces smart contract-like capabilities to the standard externally owned accounts (EOAs), which are simply created on wallets like . [1]

This will enable standard wallets to access broader features and functionalities, typically associated with smart contracts. For instance, wallets can engage in transaction bundling or grouping multiple transactions altogether. In addition, wallets can also sponsor transactions by paying transaction-gas for third party any other wallets. [2]

"All things considered, teams were in agreement about moving forward in the EIP. 3074 will be included in Pectra," wrote Tim Beiko, protocol support lead at the Ethereum Foundation, in a post on X. [5]

Increasing Validator Balance Cap (EIP-7251)

The EIP-7251, called the “maxeb” improvement, aims to enhance the consensus layer’s scalability and stability. This will increase the maximum effective balance for validators from the current 32 ETH to 2,048 ETH. The increment drives streamlined staking operations while providing greater flexibility for validators. This EIP also mitigates the risk of possible instability of beacon-chain if ETH staking supply exceeds 50% on the network. [4]

As it facilitates the consolidation of multiple validators into fewer “super validators,” maxeb intends to streamline validating efficiencies without impacting Ethereum’s monetary policy or rewards. It also benefits solo stakers by allowing them to accumulate rewards on amounts exceeding 32 ETH. [2][5]

Gas efficiency for smart contracts (EIP-4758)

The EIP-4758 within this upgrade is aimed at optimizing efficiency. It introduces fundamental changes to the (EVM) that helps in reducing gas costs associated with certain operations. [2]

This improvement proposal suggests updating required gas for the SLOAD, SSTORE, and CODECOPY opcodes, essentially making them cheaper to execute. It also introduced a new storage category called “warm” that haslower gas costs compared to “cold” storage, which incentivizes developers to reuse existing storage slots in the smart contract. Also, this improvement makes precompiled contracts – like elliptic curve operations – functions cheaper to call from other smart contracts. All these optimizations could lead to a significant amount of gas savings, more specifically for those smart contracts which are heavily dependent on storage operations or other intensive cryptographic functions. [2]

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Ethereum Pectra Upgrade

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May 29, 2024

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