BTC Transaction Fees Drop 90% After Spike Attributed to Ordinals

The Bitcoin network has ostensibly cleared congestion after a record busy week that led to an overwhelming 500,000 unconfirmed transactions and sent the average transaction fee through the roof. The average fee for sending a transaction on the blockchain is $3.7 currently, down from the $30 peak seen recently.

Bitcoin Fees and Unconfirmed Transactions Drop

The average Bitcoin fee, which hit a record high of over $30 on May 8, has cooled significantly. According to data by YCharts, the average Bitcoin transaction fee currently stands at around $3, down by more than 90% compared to seven days ago.

As reported, there was also a substantial jump in cumulative daily Bitcoin fees, which reached $17 million on May 8 – the highest since May 2021. However, that figure has also taken a nosedive, dropping to around $2.2 million over the past 24 hours.

Aside from fees, the number of unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions has sharply declined. More than 240,000 unconfirmed transactions in the mempool are waiting to be added to a block, compared to around 500,000 last week.

Meme Coin Mania Congested Bitcoin Network

Ordinal Inscriptions refer to digital assets inscribed on a satoshi, the lowest denomination of a Bitcoin. Similar to NFTs, they allow creators and digital art collectors to establish verifiable ownership and provenance of digital assets, which has been challenging.

These tokens have seen massive success since their launch in January this year. According to a Dune dashboard, more than 6.8 million Ordinals have been inscribed to the Bitcoin network, bringing around $1.3 million in fees for miners.

However, the Ordinals project has not come without controversy. Bitcoin purists have been critical of the Ordinals project, arguing that it could price out the actual financial activity and thus damage Bitcoin’s image as a reliable P2P payments network. On the other hand, supporters of the protocol have claimed that it can attract more people and extend the Bitcoin network’s use cases.

Notably, the popularity of Bitcoin NFTs has also caused the network to become congested. At one point last week, around 500,000 unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions in the mempool were waiting to be added to a block.

The congestion even forced Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, to pause Bitcoin withdrawals twice over the weekend. While the exchange eventually resumed Bitcoin withdrawals, it noted that pending transactions were being processed with higher transaction fees.

Bitcoin Devs Propose Banning Ordinals

The Bitcoin network bottleneck last week raised the alarm among some core developers, who suggested releasing an upgrade to kill Ordinals. In a Bitcoin developer forum, Bitcoin core developer Ali Sherief suggested introducing a runtime option to delete all non-standard Taproot transactions, including Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens.

“We indirectly allowed this to happen, which previously wasn’t possible before. So we also have a responsibility to do something to ensure that this kind of congestion can never happen again using Taproot.”

Another Bitcoin core developer Luke Dashjr supported the proposal. He said that “action should have been taken months ago” and proposed using a script code like OP_RETURN to mark these transaction outputs as invalid.

Meanwhile, the recent drop in Bitcoin fees and the number of unconfirmed transactions suggest that the hype around Bitcoin NFTs might have cooled down.

This article originally appeared on The Tokenist

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