Polygon Set To Undergo Hard Fork To Reduce Gas Fee Spikes And Reorgs

Polygon Set To Undergo Hark Fork To Reduce Gas Fee Spikes And Reorgs

The proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain is conducting a hard fork to address issues with increased gas fees and risk of chain reorganisation. Polygon’s network upgrade is scheduled to take place on January 17. 

Polygon (MATIC), the Layer-2 sidechain that processes faster transactions at lower rates on the Ethereum network, is going ahead with a planned hard fork that aims to reduce gas fee spikes during high traffic and also address issues with chain reorganisations on its proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain. 

Hard fork is when a blockchain protocol undergoes a radical change to improve its network. The process may be initiated by developers or members of the crypto project and is voted on by the community. A hard fork requires all node operators to update their software to the protocol’s latest version at a designated time. 

The proposal made on December 22, 2022, was approved by the Polygon community after a heated discussion and is scheduled to go ahead on January 17. Polygon decided to upgrade its protocol after experiencing traffic spikes which slowed down the network and exponentially increased its gas fee – a tax paid by users to transact on a blockchain. Last year, Sunflower Farmers, a play-to-earn (P2E) game on Polygon, clogged the network that was supposed to be a scaling solution for Ethereum that helps process more transactions and ironically charged high gas fees from users.

The development team will start by increasing the value of the “BaseFeeChangeDenominator” from 8 to 16, which Polygon says will help smooth out the increase or decrease in base fee – the minimum fee charged for when a block is added to the mainnet – when the gas exceeds or falls below the target limit in a block. The current value of 8 was set in accordance with Polygon’s London Hardfork or EIP-1559 proposal that changed the network’s on-chain gas dynamics.  

Polygon Set To Undergo Hark Fork To Reduce Gas Fee Spikes

Although gas prices are normal occurrences on any blockchain protocol when there is increased demand, “gas spikes” which are sudden and exponential increases in network fees, are not. Polygon says the spike seen on its network was the result of the London Hardfork and its faster block creation time of 2 seconds. In its latest proposal, the network claims that by increasing the value from 8 to 16, base fee is expected to fall from the current rate of 12.5% to 6.25% which will smoothen out severe fluctuations in gas prices. Developers say the results were back tested against historical transaction data from the Polygon mainnet. 

However, Polygon says that gas fees will remain high during peak demands, but with the latest upgrade gas spikes will be controlled to ensure a “more seamless experience when interacting with the chain.” 

Another issue that the Layer-1 network is trying to solve with the hard fork is chain reorganisation (reorg), which can cause the blockchain to temporarily split into two separate networks because of an error during upgrade or a malicious attack. Reorgs occur when a validator node ignores or deactivates old transactions when it receives blocks that are part of a new version of the chain.

Reorgs can disrupt an application’s ability to validate transactions that are part of the existing version of the blockchain, resulting in slower processing times. To overcome the problem, applications wait until they receive additional block confirmations. Polygon’s PoS chain uses a consensus mechanism called “probabilistic”, which finalises transactions based on the number of confirmations that the block holding it receives from other validators. On proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains like the Bitcoin network, a transaction is considered final once it receives 6 to 12 block confirmations. On the other hand, PoS blockchains like Polygon waits for 50 or more block confirmations before finalising a transaction. 

To address chain reorganisations, the Polygon team plans to decrease the block’s sprint length – the length of time a validator can continuously produce blocks – from 64 to 16 blocks. By reducing the sprint length, a single validator can produce blocks continuously for a much shorter time at 32 seconds than the current timeframe of 128 seconds. Polygon says the upgrade will help reduce frequency and depth of reorgs on the network by decreasing the time taken to confirm a transaction. 

All Polygon validators have been ordered to upgrade their nodes to the latest version before January 17 to prepare for the hard fork. However, MATIC – native token of Polygon– and decentralised applications (DApps) on the blockchain will function as normal. 

At the time of writing, MATIC is trading at $0.91 – up by 2.9% in the last 24-hours. 

Also Check: City Of London Forms Alliance To Guide UK’s Digital Currency Future

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