Vitalik proposes new ‘multidimensional’ Ethereum fee structure

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has put his thinking cap back on in an attempt to enhance the network’s existing fee structure.

The idea, dubbed “Multidimensional EIP-1559,” was detailed in a blog post published on Jan. 5 by Buterin, who noted that different resources in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) have varying gas use demands.

He went on to say that the EVM has various restrictions for short-term “burst” capacity versus “continuous” capacity, mentioning block data storage, witness data storage, and block state size changes as examples.

“The current method, in which all resources are aggregated into a single multidimensional resource (‘gas’), fails to account for these distinctions.”
When these constraints are misaligned, feeding all of the diverse resources into a single one results in “extremely sub-optimal gas costs,” he warned.

Buterin described his complex recommended adjustments with a lot of technical arithmetic, but in a nutshell, the plan offered two viable solutions based on “multidimensional” pricing.

The first approach would divide the base price for each unit of resource by the overall base fee to get the gas cost for resources like call data and storage. The EIP-1559 algorithm includes a fixed-per-block network fee as part of the base price.

The second, more complicated solution establishes a base price for consuming resources while also imposing burst restrictions on each one. There would also be “priority fees,” which would be calculated by increasing the percentage by the base fee.


The disadvantage of the multidimensional fee structure, according to him, is that “block builders would not be able to simply accept transactions in the order of fee-per-gas from high to low.” They’d have to work out how to balance the dimensions and answer more arithmetic problems.

It remains to be seen whether the idea will be approved, given the next major improvement is currently the top priority. The Ethereum network is presently preparing for “the merge,” which will connect the Ethereum blockchain to the Beacon Chain, effectively putting a stop to Proof-of-Work. On the Kintsugi testnet, testing is already underway, with complete deployment scheduled in the first quarter of this year.

In August, as part of the London upgrade, EIP-1559 was deployed to burn a portion of the transaction costs in order to make gas prices more predictable. According to the burn tracker, 1.36 million ETH worth nearly $4.7 billion at current rates has been destroyed since it went live.