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Apparently Outrageous Transaction Fees Are a Feature, Not a Bug?

TL;DR

  • Right now demand for Bitcoin block space is running high, which has pushed transaction fees as up to $7.50.

  • When transaction fees jump up in price, the BTC community gets all giddy because it reinforces the idea that one day the network will be able to operate without mining rewards.

Full Story

You know how when you go the emergency room, your wait time is often based on how serious your injury is?

Bitcoin ‘mempools’ operate in a similar fashion…

They’re the ‘waiting room’ for Bitcoin transactions, where the processing time is determined by how much you’re willing to pay in fees.

Right now Bitcoin’s mempool/waiting room is packed to the rafters, which has pushed transaction fees as high a $7.50.

At one point over the weekend there were close to 400k transactions stuck in limbo – some of which were from as far back as April!

Why is all of this happening?

This congestion is largely thanks to the growing popularity of Bitcoin Ordinals (aka Bitcoin NFTs), which have massively increased transaction demand on the network.

…and people are excited by this? Why??

Right now, Bitcoin miners get paid a transaction fee (which varies) AND a mining reward (6.25 BTC) every time they process a group of transactions.

That means every ten minutes, there’s 6.25 BTC up for grabs (plus a transaction fee)! But eventually those mining rewards will run out, and miners will rely solely on transaction fees.

The big question is: will transaction fees alone be enough incentive for these miners to profitably maintain the network in the future?

See also  McDonald's Next Foray Into NFTs

When transaction fees jump up in price, the Bitcoin community gets all giddy because it reinforces the idea that, yes, transaction fees alone can support the network.

If you think that’s a strange thing to get excited about – we’re right there with you!

Crypto is a weird place sometimes.

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