Empirical Analysis of EIP-1559: Transaction Fees, Waiting Time, and Consensus Security

Y. Liu, Y. Lu, K. Nayak, F. Zhang, L. Zhang, Y. Zhao.

In ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 2022.


Transaction fee mechanism (TFM) is an essential component of a blockchain protocol. However, a systematic evaluation of the real-world impact of TFMs is still absent. Using rich data from the Ethereum blockchain, mempool, and exchanges, we study the effect of EIP-1559, one of the first deployed TFMs that depart from the traditional first-price auction paradigm. We conduct a rigorous and comprehensive empirical study to examine its causal effect on blockchain transaction fee dynamics, transaction waiting time and security. Our results show that EIP-1559 improves the user experience by making fee estimation easier, mitigating intra-block difference of gas price paid, and reducing users' waiting times. However, EIP-1559 has only a small effect on gas fee levels and consensus security. In addition, we found that when Ether’s price is more volatile, the waiting time is significantly higher. We also verify that a larger block size increases the presence of siblings. These findings suggest new directions for improving TFM.


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