What is EIP-1559? How Gas Fees Work on Ethereum

What is EIP-1559? How Gas Fees Work on Ethereum

One of the Ethereum blockchain's greatest challenges is high and unpredictable gas fees for transactions. This has led to a suboptimal user experience and hindered the network's efficiency.

To address these issues, the Ethereum community proposed and implemented the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1559 as part of the London Hard Fork in August 2021.

In this blog, learn more about what EIP-1559 is, how gas fees work on Ethereum, and what this means for users on the network. Let's dive in.

Understanding EIP-1559

EIP-1559, as announced by the Ethereum Foundation, is a significant upgrade to Ethereum's transaction fee mechanism. It introduces a new fee model that aims to make gas prices more predictable and reduce the volatility of transaction fees. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum's co-founder, has provided extensive commentary on the design and objectives of EIP-1559, emphasizing its potential to improve the user experience and network efficiency.

The key features of EIP-1559 include:

  1. Base Fee: A base fee is introduced for each block, which is automatically calculated by the network based on the demand for block space. This base fee is burned, meaning it is permanently removed from circulation.
  2. Priority Fee: In addition to the base fee, users can include a priority fee (tip) to incentivize miners to include their transactions in a block. This priority fee goes directly to the miners.
  3. Gas Price Predictability: EIP-1559 aims to make gas prices more predictable by adjusting the base fee based on network congestion. If a block is more than 50% full, the base fee increases, and if it is less than 50% full, the base fee decreases.

How EIP-1559 Transforms Gas Fees

Under EIP-1559, the total transaction fee consists of the base fee and the priority fee. As explained by Blocknative, the base fee is determined by the network and burned, while the priority fee is set by the user and goes to the miners. This new model ensures that users pay a fair price for their transactions based on the current network demand.

Coinbase provides a clear example of how gas price predictability is achieved under EIP-1559. If the base fee is 100 gwei and the user sets a priority fee of 10 gwei, the total transaction fee would be 110 gwei. If the network congestion increases and the base fee rises to 150 gwei, the total fee would become 160 gwei, assuming the same priority fee.

The burning of the base fee is a crucial aspect of EIP-1559. By removing a portion of ETH from circulation, it creates a deflationary pressure on the supply of ETH. The Block's data shows that a significant amount of ETH has been burned since the implementation of EIP-1559, highlighting its potential impact on the overall supply dynamics.

Impacts and Benefits of EIP-1559

EIP-1559 brings several benefits to the Ethereum network and its users. Firstly, it improves the user experience by making gas prices more predictable. Users no longer need to engage in complex fee estimation strategies, as the base fee provides a reliable reference point. This predictability reduces the chances of users overpaying or underpaying for their transactions.

Moreover, EIP-1559 helps to reduce gas price volatility. The automatic adjustment of the base fee based on network congestion ensures that gas prices remain relatively stable, even during periods of high demand. This stability is beneficial for both users and developers, as it allows for more accurate cost projections and planning.

The deflationary pressure created by the burning of the base fee is another significant impact of EIP-1559. As a portion of ETH is permanently removed from circulation with each block, it can potentially increase the scarcity and value of ETH over time. This mechanism bears some similarities to traditional monetary policy tools used by central banks to control inflation.

An empirical analysis of EIP-1559 by ArXiv supports the claims of improved user experience and reduced gas price volatility. The study found that EIP-1559 has succeeded in making gas prices more predictable and has reduced the overall variability of transaction fees.

Ecosystem Implications and Comparisons

EIP-1559 introduces significant changes for users, developers, and the broader Ethereum ecosystem. Users benefit from a more streamlined and predictable transaction fee experience, while developers can build applications with greater certainty about gas costs.

However, the implementation of EIP-1559 has not been without controversy. Some miners initially resisted the proposal, as it would reduce their revenue from transaction fees. There were concerns that this could potentially impact network security, as miners might have less incentive to secure the network. Nevertheless, the Ethereum community has worked to address these concerns and ensure a smooth transition.

When compared to other blockchain networks, Ethereum's fee model under EIP-1559 stands out. Tatum's comparison guide highlights the unique aspects of Ethereum's fee structure, such as the burning of the base fee and the inclusion of a priority fee. While some other networks have fixed transaction fees or use different fee models, Ethereum's approach aims to strike a balance between predictability and flexibility.

Challenges and Controversies

Despite the potential benefits of EIP-1559, its implementation has not been without challenges and controversies. One of the main concerns raised by miners is the potential impact on their revenue and, consequently, network security. As explained by Galaxy Digital's insights, the burning of the base fee reduces the overall revenue for miners, which could potentially disincentivize them from securing the network.

Miners have expressed concerns that the reduced revenue might lead to a concentration of mining power, as smaller miners may struggle to remain profitable. This concentration could potentially increase the risk of 51% attacks or other security vulnerabilities. However, the Ethereum community has been actively working to address these concerns and ensure a smooth transition.

Blocknative's analysis of EIP-1559 adoption provides valuable insights into the challenges faced during the implementation process. The analysis highlights the importance of effective communication and coordination among various stakeholders, including miners, developers, and users, to ensure a successful transition.

Another point of contention is the potential impact of EIP-1559 on the development of Layer 2 scaling solutions. Some argue that the reduced gas fees on the main Ethereum network might slow down the adoption of Layer 2 solutions, as users may find it more convenient and cost-effective to transact directly on the main chain. However, proponents of EIP-1559 argue that the improved user experience and network efficiency will ultimately benefit the entire Ethereum ecosystem, including Layer 2 solutions.


EIP-1559 represents a significant milestone in Ethereum's ongoing evolution. As the network continues to grow and mature, it is crucial to address scalability, security, and user experience challenges. The implementation of EIP-1559 demonstrates the Ethereum community's commitment to tackling these issues head-on and finding innovative solutions.

The new transaction fee mechanism introduced by EIP-1559 aims to improve the user experience by making gas prices more predictable and reducing overall fee volatility. Additionally, the burning of the base fee creates a deflationary pressure on the ETH supply, potentially increasing its scarcity and value over time.

While there have been challenges and controversies surrounding EIP-1559, such as concerns from miners regarding their revenue and the potential impact on network security, the Ethereum community has been actively working to address these issues. Open communication and coordination among stakeholders are essential for ensuring a smooth transition and the long-term success of the network.

As Ethereum continues to evolve, it is crucial for users, developers, and stakeholders to stay informed about the latest developments and actively participate in the ecosystem. Engaging with the Ethereum community, participating in discussions, and contributing to the ongoing development efforts will help shape the future of the network and ensure its continued growth and success.


  1. What is the purpose of EIP-1559?
    EIP-1559 is an Ethereum Improvement Proposal that aims to improve the network's transaction fee mechanism by introducing a base fee and a priority fee. The main goals of EIP-1559 are to make gas prices more predictable, reduce fee volatility, and create a deflationary pressure on the ETH supply.
  2. How does EIP-1559 affect gas prices?
    Under EIP-1559, the total transaction fee consists of a base fee and a priority fee. The base fee is automatically calculated by the network based on the demand for block space and is burned. The priority fee is set by the user and goes directly to the miners. This mechanism helps make gas prices more predictable and reduces overall fee volatility.
  3. Will EIP-1559 reduce gas fees?
    While EIP-1559 is not explicitly designed to reduce gas fees, it can potentially lead to lower fees during periods of low network congestion. The improved predictability of gas prices may also help users avoid overpaying for transactions.
  4. How does EIP-1559 impact miners?
    EIP-1559 changes the way miners receive transaction fees. Instead of receiving the entire transaction fee, miners now receive only the priority fee set by the user. The base fee is burned, which reduces the overall revenue for miners. This change has led to some concerns among miners regarding their profitability and incentives to secure the network.
  5. Is EIP-1559 a permanent solution to Ethereum's scalability issues?
    While EIP-1559 is an important step towards improving Ethereum's transaction fee mechanism and network efficiency, it is not a complete solution to the network's scalability challenges. Ethereum's long-term scalability will rely on a combination of on-chain upgrades, such as sharding and proof-of-stake, as well as off-chain scaling solutions like Layer 2 networks.
  6. When was EIP-1559 implemented?
    EIP-1559 was implemented as part of the London Hard Fork, which went live on the Ethereum mainnet on August 5, 2021, at block 12,965,000.
  7. Can EIP-1559 be reversed or modified in the future?
    As with any Ethereum Improvement Proposal, EIP-1559 can potentially be modified or even reversed in the future through a subsequent hard fork. However, such changes would require a consensus among the Ethereum community and would need to go through the standard EIP process.
  8. How does EIP-1559 affect the development of decentralized applications (dApps)?
    EIP-1559 can benefit dApp developers by providing more predictable gas prices and reducing the complexity of fee estimation. This predictability can help developers better plan and manage their dApp's transaction costs and user experience. However, developers will need to update their dApps to be compatible with the new transaction fee mechanism introduced by EIP-1559.

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