Ethereum default gas prices

So, if you read What is Gas in Ethereum, you’ll know that you can specify whatever gas price you’d like to when sending a transaction. The thing is, that most users don’t. There are a few reasons why this might be the case:

  • Many users value higher confirmation times.
  • The default gas price (20 gwei) is not actually that expensive for most users’ needs.
  • They worry that their transactions won’t be mined.

An interesting stat is that about 25% of transactions have a specified gas price greater than 20 gwei, while < 1% of transactions have a gas price smaller than 20 gwei.

But it seems like such a high spending on gas isn’t necessary, as a 20 gwei gas price is accepted by 94% of miners and takes around 40 seconds to be confirmed, and a 4 gwei gas price is accepted by 65% of the miners and takes just 90 seconds to confirm.

As the price of 1 ETH grows in value compared to other currencies (which it already has done significantly), this trend seems like it is destined to continue, including the annoyance of a fixed default gas price.

The community has discussed ways in which a more robust gas market might be implemented. A few solutions include:

  • Changing the way in which clients report gas prices from Ether to gwei (Shannon)
  • Making custom gas price a more prominent UI feature, and providing the user with more data in order to make more informed decisions.

Another one, suggested here is to set the default gas price to:

  • “the median of the lowest gas price accepted calculated over the group of miners who mined a block within the last x block interval”. Doing so would allow the gas price to drop more readily, as miners are able to accept lower prices.

Although having a default gas price hasn’t been an issue for me personally, it seems like it can be somewhat of an annoyance for others. Post in a comment below if you’ve got a perspective on this topic!

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