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Ethereum Block Propagation Time Cut in Half Thanks to Scaling Fix

By Luke Flowers – Crypto Specialist

According to a third-party tester, scalability-focused blockchain startup, bloXroute Labs was able to successfully cut down block propagation time on the Ethereum mainnet in half. Reduce this propagation could increase network throughput to keep up with demand to buy and sell Ethereum and execute the smart contracts.

Between Nov. 11 and Nov. 27, the blockchain advisory firm Akomba Labs run bloXroute's "Blockchain Distribution Network" (BDN) on an Ethereum node in Singapore. The results found that the average block propagation time – the time it takes for a block to be produced and shared all over a blockchain – had been reduced to 172 milliseconds, which is half the current average time of 360 milliseconds. Halving this propagation time could help the network keep up when many users look to buy Ethereum or sell.

As part of the two-week test, Akomba used data from a Chinese mining pool.

The results found that BDN could have a modest but surging effect on block propagation on the Ethereum mainnet, which is currently the world’s second biggest public blockchain and also one of the more expensive to transact on. It is also a frequent subject on scalability, as far back as when Crypto kitties almost overloaded the network. This overload was caused due to the processing of many smart contracts, as oppose to an overload of orders to buy or sell Ether.

BloXroute Labs CEO, Uri Klarman, said, "Ethereum feels the burn of the scalability bottleneck more than any other blockchain out there. It's losing momentum, it's losing market share.” To encourage more users to buy Ethereum and developers to use the platform to build smart contracts and applications, the network need to overcome the scaling issue.

BloXroute uses a layer 0 approach that in turn cuts down transaction size and boosts block propagation time. For instance, BDN can broadcast 4 bytes for a 500-byte transaction.

Klarman said, "We don't send the entire block because if the other gateways know the transaction out of there, you don't need to send the actual data itself.” All that is needed for this type of system is just pointers stating which transactions are there.

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