Last week, news broke that the price of RAM on the EOS blockchain had drastically risen. After peaking on July 8, the price has been drifting downward and currently stands at 0.34 EOS per kilobyte at time of press. (The price of EOS is just above $7.) To create an account, a user must purchase at least four kilobytes.
The price increase led to discussions of whether RAM was being purchased for speculative reasons rather than for actual use, and whether the current trend could lead to a shortage of RAM. A shortage could potentially become a threat to the entire EOS project itself, either by driving up the cost of EOS account creation or by choking off the processing power.
On Saturday, during the height of the RAM controversy, block producer EOS New York tweeted:
The block producer in question, LibertyBlock, later released a statement indicating that the crash had actually occurred because of a configuration error, not because of an overuse of RAM.
Still, the issue remains unresolved, and on July 12, EOS creator Dan Larimer presented a three-step plan for lowering the cost of RAM and, consequently, the cost of EOS account creation. His three recommendations are: increase RAM supply, lower account memory usage, and give free accounts to users of Block.one's iOS wallet.
Increase RAM Supply:
Block producers have the power to increase the amount of RAM available, though such a move would have to be approved on a vote of two-thirds plus one of the block producers. Larimer wrote:
"I recommend that the producers immediately start growing the RAM at the rate of 64GB per year (1 KB per block). With this new supply, the EOS blockchain will either take in over 23,000,000 EOS per-year by selling RAM at current prices or the price of RAM will fall."
Lower Account Memory Usage:
The current four-kilobyte requirement to open an EOS account seems to have been based on the estimate that each account would use about 1.5 kilobytes in practice, and have additional RAM "reserved for future expansion." Larimer now believes that this decision may have been overly cautious and the accounts really only need about half that amount. By minimizing that requirement, the cost of account creation in EOS could remain at current levels, even if the price of RAM doubles again.
"Block.one will provide an update to the system contract that will create 1.5 KB of RAM per account and retroactively offset the overly conservative usage estimate. The end result will be to reduce the minimum account creation RAM requirements by almost 50%. We expect this update to be ready by July 31st."
Give Free Accounts to Users of Block.one's iOS Wallet:
Larimer affirmed that Block.one is creating an EOS wallet for use with iPhones. Those who use the wallet may be given a free EOS account, though his wording about this offer is far from definitive. "At this time, I believe Block.one will be able to offer a free EOS account to unique users of our iOS wallet. This is subject to change based on market conditions," he wrote.
Though Larimer mentioned adding support for Apple's secure enclave at least as far back as eight months ago, there are currently no announcements about the wallet on the Block.one site and Larimer gave no hint when it might be available.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the price of RAM on the EOS blockchain was $207 per kilobyte.