PlayDapp Editor_Ryan
Aug 7 · 6 min read

Gas isn’t all hot air, read on for a basic introduction to an essential part of Ethereum Network.

Hi CryptoDozerers

We’re going to look at another CryptoDozer Basic today, the wonderful world of Gas.

If you’ve been playing CryptoDozer you’ll have noticed that when trying to do a transaction within your Crypto Wallet (such as MetaMask) there’s a thing called gas.

Before we dive in, it’s important to know a little bit more about Ethereum. Ethereum is a platform for decentralized and truthful applications that run on a global peer to peer network with no administrators or single point of failure. These applications have zero downtime and can be created by anyone. The applications are truthful, immutable and always interoperate as they are coded.

The core of what makes all of this possible is effectively a ‘World Computer’, technically called the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) it includes operations for computation and data storage.

Transactions represent sessions within the World Computer. With one transaction being a single session. A transaction is a unit of interaction, similar to how a sentence is a unit of grammatical structure.


So what is Gas and why is it part of the Ethereume network?

You can think of gas, as just that! Gas like you use in a car, it’s the ‘fuel’ of Ethereum, used to keep everything running smoothly.

This super important fee is paid to miners, people who are dedicating time and processing power to solving cryptographically hard puzzles. Their work enables your transaction to complete.

A great example would be sending money from one bank to another. You set the instruction to send the money, the bank does this on your behalf and you are obliged to pay a small fee for their service.

But miners do a little bit more, when you make a transaction through blockchain, miners also ‘pack’ your transaction and place it in a new block allowing it to complete. All of this takes computing resources, so you have to compensate them for their consumed resources and you do that with Gas!

Of course, there are some technical terms with all of this. But don’t worry, we can easily understand them!


Explanation of Terminology

Gas
A unit that measures the amount of computation needed for a particular operation.

As a comparable analogy, electricity is metered by kilowatt-hours. Using more computation and storage in Ethereum means that more gas is used. A fundamental reason for metering is that it provides an incentive for people (miners) to operate the World Computer. These miners are paid a fee for processing transactions, the fee is determined by the metering scheme: gas.

Every operation in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) consumes gas. A multiplication (MUL) consumes 5 gas and an addition (ADD) consumes 3 gas. If you’re interested in knowing more about Ethereum’s operations and their gas consumption. Here is a spreadsheet which lists them.

Gas Fee
This represents the miner fee for any action or transaction.

Every operation in the EVM consumes a predefined amount of gas (a MUL operation always consumes 5 gas), users can specify a gas price, in every transaction.

The fee an originator pays a miner is the transaction’s (startGas — remainingGas) X gas price.

*Start gas is the amount of gas specified by the originator of the transaction.

Let’s look at a really simple example to help understand, as given by Joseph Chow:

https://media.consensys.net/ethereum-gas-fuel-and-fees-3333e17fe1dc#.krqnhnkav — Joseph Chow

Gas Fee has two parts to it: Gas Limit and Gas Price.

Gas Limit
Gas Limit is the maximum amount of Gas a user is willing to pay for performing an action or confirming a transaction. Gas Limit has a minimum of 21,000.

In crypto wallets the Gas Limit default values can vary depending on the time, the type of action that is being requested and can be set by the user. It’s worth remembering that the amount of Gas needed to complete a transaction depends on the complexity of the transaction. The more complex the more resources are needed and so more gas is consumed.

Gas Price
Gas Price is the amount of Gwei (a unit of measurement for Ether) a user is willing to spend on each unit of Gas.

The price of gas will influence network miners’ confirmation speed when confirming transactions and putting them in a new block. The higher the Gas Price a sender is willing to pay, the faster it will be confirmed and put into a block by miners, and this is because the reward they receive will be higher.

Of course, the opposite is true, the lower the Gas Price, the longer the sender will have to wait if you’re not in a hurry you can keep your costs down by setting a lower Gas Price. But set it too low at the wrong time and you’re in for a long wait….


Key things to remember when setting a Gas Limit

  1. Different transactions will generate different Gas costs.
  2. If the gas runs out miners will stop executing the operation.
  3. Unused Gas comes back to you. If you set it higher than needed any remaining will be sent back to the user’s account.
  4. Senders always pay miner fees, even if a transaction fails. A low gas fee that isn’t enough will result in an error. The transaction will be considered invalid and will be rejected, with an “Out of Gas” error. Gas spent will not be sent back. Rember the sender always pays the miner fee for computation regardless of whether the transaction goes through or not.

If you want to read more about Gas Joseph Chow has a seriously good, and understandable article:

So there we have it, a less than 5 (ish)-minute explanation of Gas, that’s not hot air!


The DozerBirds have all been put to roost and the Ropsten Test is over.

We’ll be rewarding players soon, and of course a massive thank you to those that tested, gave feedback and did their birdie best!

Didn’t submit a bug that you found- it’s not too late, do it here: https://discord.gg/MBSAXDg


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PlayDapp Editor_Ryan

Written by

I work, write and occasionally play for PlayDapp.io — they make things you play.

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