The highly-anticipated Dencun upgrade for the Ethereum network has been deployed on the Goerli testnet. However, the upgrade is encountering some issues.

According to a livestream on YouTube, Dencun was initiated on Goerli at 6:32 UTC on Wednesday, but the chain has experienced difficulties in achieving finalization as originally anticipated.

Ethereum’s Dencun Upgrade Overview

The Dencun upgrade represents Ethereum’s most significant update since the Shapella upgrade in April 2023. While Shapella enabled the withdrawal of staked ether (stETH) on the network, Dencun is expected to substantially reduce transaction costs on layer 2 (L2) networks. These developments are critical in Ethereum’s transition from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) system after the Merge.

Dencun aims to enhance Ethereum L2 rollup efficiency through a mechanism known as proto-danksharding or ephemeral blobs (EIP-4844). This approach introduces temporary storage space for higher transactional throughput by allowing access to off-chain data, thus reducing storage demands. This process is anticipated to reduce L2 transaction costs by more than 10 times, as high costs have been seen as a hindrance to protocol growth.

Originally scheduled for October 2023, the upgrade was rescheduled for late Q1 or early Q2 2024. It will be rolled out in three phases, with the deployment on the Sepolia testnet scheduled for January 31, followed by the Holesky testnet on February 7, and the final release on the Ethereum mainnet.

Challenges with Finalization

The deployment of Dencun on Goerli has encountered difficulties in achieving consensus and finality. Developers suspect that this may be due to low participation, approximately 80%, and validators being offline. A user named Terence, who goes by the pseudonym X, explained that validators might be offline because operators have not upgraded a software component or due to the presence of a bug.

Given the “highly” diverse set of validators on Goerli, it may take some time before the issue is fully understood. Nevertheless, developers plan to conduct a comprehensive non-finality test in the coming hours or days.

Terence stated, “I will not rush to conclude that the Goerli Deneb upgrade has failed or that Dencun is delayed based on immediate finality results. Proper analysis takes time, and we should allow for that before making any claims about the status of the Goerli hard fork and Deneb’s deployment.”

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