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Estimated Gas Prices Rising Dramatically On Ethereum Network



De Silva

Estimated gas price on the Ethereum network has increased substantially, an issue that seems to be affecting Geth and Parity nodes. To guard against prohibitively high gas prices, users have been advised to manually lower their gas estimates.

UPDATED | January 8, 2018

After further correspondence with Griff Green, he explained that the gas issue is related to the way in which estimated gas is calculated. "The bug is this: basically Geth sets the result of the estimateGasPrice as the 50th percentile of the gas price in the last 10 blocks," he explained. "If there were 100 txs [transactions] in each of the last 10 blocks (1000 txs in total for these 10 blocks) then Geth would order them from least to most [gas] and pick the one in the middle."

Why is this method flawed?

"Somehow, there was a runaway reaction. The 50th percentile got really high and then because we are so centralized (more than 50 percent of txs use exchanges, MetaMask, MEW [MyEtherWallet] and none of them are checking to set their gas price manually, they all use this broken algo [algorithm]) it is stuck in."

If I can put this in slightly simpler terms, the way that gas is calculated on Geth is using the median of the gas from the previous 10 blocks. This is publicly available and reproduced below:

gpoblocks value   Number of recent blocks to check for gas prices (default: 10)  
gpopercentile value Suggested gas price is the given percentile of a set of recent transaction gas prices (default: 50)  

It's not completely clear why the 50th percentile is rising – and I'm currently searching for more information on how this calculation is actually conducted under the hood.

ETHNews will continue to provide coverage as the situation develops.

ORIGINAL | January 6, 2018

Crypto never sleeps. That's why, on Saturday night, ETHNews spoke with Griff Green, founder of Giveth and co-founder of the White Hat Group. Green warned that estimated gas prices on the Ethereum network have dramatically risen, an issue that has been noted by others including Bittrex.

"There are some really weird transactions in the transaction pool that are pushing up the estimated gas price for everyone," Green said. "As the estimated gas price rises, everyone keeps using it. And basically, it's just slowly rising out of control," he explained.

At the time of writing (blocks 4,866,737 through 4,866,739), average gas prices were 119.93 Gwei, 128.33 Gwei, and 128.77 Gwei respectively.

For the sake of comparison, two days ago, for blocks 4,854,277 to 4,854,279, average gas prices were 32.53 Gwei, 33.79 Gwei, and 32.39 Gwei respectively.

According to Green, some transactions seem to be stuck in the pending transaction pool and these appear to be artificially increasing the estimated gas price. Below is a small sampling. Note how long some of these transactions have been in the pending pool, and their exorbitantly high gas prices. 

Via Etherscan
Via Etherscan

A glance at Etherscan data reveals that the average gas price has in fact spiked in the last few days.

Via Etherscan
Via Etherscan

Bittrex, for one, might have been wise to the issue early on, posting on Thursday that Ether assets were "offline" due to a "performance issue" with Geth. Late Friday night, the exchange decided to suspend "new ETH and asset deposit addresses from being created."

For now, Green suggested that users manually lower their estimated gas prices to alleviate the issue.

ETHNews will update this story as more information becomes available.

Matthew De Silva

Matthew has a passion for law and technology. He graduated from Georgetown University, where he studied international economics and music. Matthew enjoys biking and listening to tech podcasts. He lives in Los Angeles.

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