|Author||Felix J Lange, Martin Holst Swende|
Table of Contents
This EIP describes a scheme to charge for data in state, and ‘archive’ data which is no longer being paid for. It also describes how resurrection of ‘archived’ data happens.
The Ethereum blockchain in its current form is not sustainable because it grows indefinitely. This is true of any blockchain, but Ethereum grows faster than most chains. Many implementation strategies to slow down growth exist. A common strategy is ‘state pruning’ which discards historical state, keeping only the active copy of contract data and a few recent versions to deal with short-range chain reorganizations. Several implementations also employ compression techniques to keep the active copy of the state as small as possible.
A full node participating in consensus today requires storing large amounts of data even with advanced storage optimizations applied. Future storage requirements are unbounded because any data stored in a contract must be retained forever as dictated by the protocol. This EIP attempts to correct this by adding new consensus rules that put an upper bound on the size of the Ethereum state.
Adding these new rules changes fundamental guarantees of the system and requires a hard fork. Users of Ethereum already pay for the creation and modification of accounts and their storage entries. Under the rules introduced in this EIP, users must also pay to keep accounts accessible. A similar rent scheme was proposed in EIP-103 but rejected even back then because the proposal would’ve upset peoples expectations. As implementers of Ethereum, we still feel that state rent is the right path to long-term sustainability of the Ethereum blockchain and that its undesirable implications can be overcome with off-protocol tooling and careful design.
The cost of storing an account over time is called
rent. The amount of
rent due depends
on the size of the account. The
ether that is paid for
rent is destroyed. The
rent is deducted whenever an account is touched.
rent can be paid from the account’s regular
balance or from its ‘rent balance’. Accounts
can be endowed with
rent balance through a new EVM opcode. When
rent is charged, it is
first taken from the
rent balance. When
rent balance is zero, it is instead charged from the account’s regular
The reason to separate
rent balance is that certain contracts do not accept
ether sends, or always send the entire balance off to some other destination. For these cases, a separate
rent balance is required.
When an account’s
balance is insufficient to pay rent, the account becomes
storage and contract code are removed. Inactive accounts cannot be interacted with, i.e.
it behaves as if it has no contract code.
Inactive accounts can be restored by re-uploading their storage. To restore an inactive
A, a new account
B is created with arbitrary code and its storage modified
SSTORE operations until it matches the storage root of
B can restore
A through the
RESTORETO opcode. This means the cost of restoring an account is
equivalent to recreating it via successive
At the top level, a new key
size is added to the accounts trie. This key tracks the
total number of trie nodes across all accounts, including storage trie nodes. To track
rent, the structure of account entries is changed as well.
Before processing the block in which this EIP becomes active, clients iterate the whole state once to count the number of trie nodes and to change the representation of all accounts to the new format.
account = [nonce, balance, storageroot, codehash, rentbalance, rentblock, storagesize]
Each account gets three additional properties:
rentbalace field tracks the amount of
rent balance available to the account. Upon
self-destruction any remaining
rent balance is transferred to the beneficiary. Any
modification of the account recomputes its current
rentblock field tracks the block number in which the
rent balance was last
recomputed. Upon creation, this field is initialized with the current block number.
rentblock is also updated with the current block number whenever the account is
storagesize field tracks the amount of storage related to the account. It is a
number containing the number of storage slots currently set. The
storagesize of an
inactive account is zero.
There is a new protocol constant
MAX_STORAGE_SIZE that specifies the upper bound on the
number of state tree nodes:
MAX_STORAGE_SIZE = 2**32 # ~160GB of state
A ‘storage fee factor’ for each block is derived from this constant such that fees increase as the limit is approached.
def storagefee_factor(block): ramp = MAX_STORAGE_SIZE / (MAX_STORAGE_SIZE - total_storage_size(block)) return 2**22 * ramp
When a block is processed,
rent is deducted from all accounts modified by transactions in
the block after the transactions have been processed. The amount due for each account is
based on the account’s storage size.
def rent(prestate, poststate, addr, currentblock): fee = 0 for b in range(prestate[addr].rentblock+1, currentblock-1): fee += storagefee_factor(b) * prestate[addr].storagesize return fee + storagefee_factor(currentblock) * poststate[addr].storagesize def charge_rent(prestate, poststate, addr, currentblock): fee = rent(prestate, poststate, addr, currentblock) if fee <= poststate[addr].rentbalance: poststate[addr].rentbalance -= fee else: fee -= poststate[addr].rentbalance poststate[addr].rentbalance = 0 poststate[addr].balance -= min(poststate[addr].balance, fee) poststate[addr].rentblock = currentblock
At any time, the
rent balance of an account may be topped up by the
PAYRENT deducts the given amount of
ether from the account executing the opcode and adds
it to the
rent balance of the address specified as beneficiary.
Any participant can pay the rent for any other participant.
Gas cost: TBD
rent balance of an account may be queried through the
RENTBALANCE opcode. It pushes the
rentbalance field of the given address to the stack.
Gas cost: like
This opcode pushes the
storagesize field of the given account to the stack.
Gas cost: like
This opcode restores the inactive account at the given address. This is a bit like
SELFDESTRUCT but has more specific semantics.
The account at
addr must be
inactive (i.e. have
storagesize zero) and its
storageroot must match the
storageroot of the contract executing
codeaddr specifies the address of a contract from which code is taken. The code of the
codeaddr account must match the
If all these preconditions are met,
RESTORETO transfers the storage of the account
executing the opcode to
addr and resets its
storagesize to the full size of the
storage. The code of
addr is restored as well.
RESTORETO also transfers any remaining
balance and rent balance to
addr. The contract executing
RESTORETO is deleted.
Gas cost: TBD
Accounts need a separate rent balance because some contracts are non-payable, i.e. they reject regular value transfers. Such contracts might not be able to keep themselves alive, but users of those contracts can keep them alive by paying rent for them.
Having the additional balance also makes things easier for contracts that hold balance on behalf of a user. Consider the canonical crowdfunding example, a contract which changes behavior once a certain balance is reached and which tracks individual user’s balances. Deducting rent from the main balance of the contract would mess up the contract’s accounting, leaving it unable to pay back users accurately if the threshold balance isn’t reached.
One of the fundamental guarantees provided by Ethereum is that changes to contract storage can only be made by the contract itself and storage will persist forever. If you hold a token balance in a contract, you’ll have those tokens forever. By adding restoration, we can maintain this guarantee to a certain extent.
The proposed changes tries to fit within the existing state transition model. Note that there is no mechanism for deactivating accounts the moment they can’t pay rent. Users must touch accounts to ensure their storage is removed because we’d need to track all accounts and their rent requirements in an auxlilary data structure otherwise.
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