The “L1 always congested” Thesis

1 min readFeb 15, 2021


Just a quick thought on L1 scalability, which I call the “L1 always congested” thesis: and why L2 will also be essential for Eth 2.0, and for all other chains too (should they get any traction). Why?

That’s because if fees/congestion go down, then everyone will be careless about gas usage, deploy more gas intensive contracts, quickly fill the chain and all the shards with crap, until *all* the shards become congested again.

Thus, we are back to the same problem.

Another problem, is that there are devs eager to mine “gas tokens” for their dapps to make transactions cheaper for their users when there is congestion. With no congestion, it will be like a free-for-all race to mine the most gas tokens on all the shards. (I think 64 shards at the beginning?). From a game theory point of view, it’s beneficial for the dapp owners to clog up the chain mining gas tokens, because it means that users will less likely use the competitor’s dapp that does not use a gas token!

That also applies to all the other projects that claim to solve L1. Sure, they “solve” scalability, but that induces demand and encourages even more ambitious gas burning smart contracts. Maybe there are solutions to the above problems like a better gas market or state rent? I don’t know. However, L2 seems like the better solution since it keeps the L1 simple and thus more secure.

So there you have it, L1 will always be congested.

Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.