Ethereumco-founder Vitalik Buterin has expressed concern about the persistent high transaction fees on the ethereum network. In a Feb. 28 post, Buterin highlighted the need to improve the network’s infrastructure to facilitate ethereum as a means of payment, adding that “more work remains to be done.”
Buterin recounted his personal experience while trying to pay for tea with friends at a coffee shop in Argentina in 2021. He had to pay 0.01 ETH, which was about $40 at the time, because that was the minimum deposit for the owner’s exchange account. Despite paying three times more than the actual bill, he still counts it as a tip. He also cites an example from 2022, when he tried to pay for tea at another location, but two separate transactions failed due to the need for “extra gas to process the transfer” and a UI glitch in his mobile wallet. .
In his article, Buterin also highlighted the problem of unpredictable transaction times, citing cases where a service has not confirmed a transaction even after it has been accepted on-chain. He added that the wallet UI cannot show such problems, and even experts may be confused about how to speed up transactions in this situation.
Buterin emphasized the need for a good user experience, noting that “a clean and stylish UI that does something weird and unexplainable 0.723% of the time, which causes major problems, is better than a UI that exposes more details to the user.” The UI is worse but at least it makes it easier to understand what’s going on and fix any issues that do arise.”
He also raised the issue that the internet is “not 100% reliable”, requiring offline proof that customers have indeed transmitted their transaction data directly to the merchant. Buterin believes that the social recovery method of off-chain wallets based on secret sharing is fragile and may result in the loss of small amounts of BTC and ETH.
According to YCharts, Ethereum transaction fees have dropped to an average of $0.656, well below the $20 average at the peak of the cryptocurrency bull market in 2021. Despite the decline, Buterin emphasized that high transaction fees remain an issue, as well as the need to address user experience.
“Aside from the most important issue of high transaction fees due to scaling that has not been fully resolved, user experience is the reason why many Ethereum users, especially those in the global south, often choose centralized solutions over on-chain decentralized alternatives Key reasons place power in the hands of users and their friends and family or local communities,” Buterin wrote in his article.
Buterin’s article comes as ethereum is undergoing major upgrades to improve scalability, including the transition to ethereum 2.0, which aims to increase the speed and efficiency of the network.