A new proposal to improve Ethereum, EIP 1167: minimum proxy contract, will probably be completed in the next two weeks. This will make the clone contracts lighter on the Ethereum network and less expensive to implement. According to the GitHub page of the proposal:
"This standard [allows] for use cases where it is [desirable] to clone the functionality of the exact contract with a minimum of side effects (eg stomping of memory slots ) and with the super-economic distribution of duplicates of the delegates. "
The new proposal will reduce, in practical terms, the gas costs required by the clandestine contracts of Ethereum. Cloning contracts are simply smart contracts that are duplicated for reuse – and this puts a lot of weight on the Ethereum network.
Up to now, developers have changed addresses in each cloning contract, resulting in a lot of useless traffic. But EIP 1167 will allow cloning contracts to redirect transactions to a "master contract" that reuses addresses. This will lighten the load on the network. Explains Bowen Sanders:
"Thousands and thousands of contracts are regularly cloned, occupying useless space and inflating the blockchain data segment.This data space could be used for things other than multiple clones of the same contract."
cloned contracts can rely on master contracts, this means that master contracts must be immutable – otherwise, master creators contracts could essentially control cloning contracts by modifying the main contract code after the fact . Security can be further secured through a self-destruction mechanism: in the event that a vulnerability is detected, the main contract (and cloned contracts) will cease to function.
There is still room for the old type of clone contracts: Sanders notes that some smart contracts, such as those used by certain portfolios, will need to be cloned with custom addresses for security reasons.
Ethereum continually pursues solutions to its scalability problems, and this is just one of many community adaptations until sharding is implemented. Anything that suddenly increases traffic on the Ethereum network can increase gas costs and transaction fees: various ICOs and viral collectible games have mired the network for other reasons, which means that cloned contracts are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to scalability.