Bitcoin Fees Hit ATH Post Halving: Are Users Getting Priced Out?

Bitcoin transaction fees have surged to over $100 for the first time ever, raising concerns about usability and potential sell-offs.

Guy sitting on the bed dissapointed with the bitcoin.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Bitcoin transaction fees have skyrocketed, surpassing over $100 for the first time ever.
  • This surge has followed the recent Bitcoin halving event, raising concerns about holding and using Bitcoin.
  • The high fees are trapping small Bitcoin balances, rendering them unusable due to exceeding transaction costs.

The Bitcoin network is experiencing a surge in transaction fees, with the average cost surpassing a historic $100 mark for the first time on April 20. This development comes shortly after the latest Bitcoin halving event, which reduces the amount of new BTC awarded to miners by half.

Understanding The Fee Increase

Bitcoin transaction fees are a function of supply and demand. With a limited block size and a fixed 10-minute block generation time, users compete for space on the blockchain. Higher demand translates to higher fees as users outbid each other to have miners prioritize their transactions. 

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This design choice differs from other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) increased block size, Litecoin (LTC) shortened block time, Monero (XMR) employed a combination of both, and Nano (XNO) removed fees entirely through a secure fee-less architecture.

The unprecedented fee surge raises concerns about a potential sell-off as the cost of holding and moving Bitcoin becomes prohibitive. The market awaits to see if demand for block space subsides, leading to lower fees. In the meantime, users are left paying a hefty premium, roughly four times the global average daily income, for each Bitcoin transaction.

High Bitcoin Fees Trap Small Balances

Data from mempool.space reveals users paid an average of $105.69 per transaction over the past 24 hours, translating to roughly 0.00166 BTC or 166,150 satoshis (sats, the smallest unit of Bitcoin). Notably, the last four mined blocks all had fees exceeding 1,072 sat/vB, which translates to $100 for basic SegWit transactions (a way to reduce transaction size). 

Previously, the highest recorded fee in USD terms was $62.78, set in April 2021. The fee increase presents a double-edged sword. While miners benefit from the additional revenue stream, especially after the halving’s block reward reduction, users face significant drawbacks.

Holding Bitcoin Dust

One major consequence is the rise of “dust”, small account balances, and unspent transaction outputs rendered unusable due to fees exceeding their value. According to BitInfoCharts, over half (53.94%) of all Bitcoin addresses hold less than 0.001 BTC. With current fees exceeding $100, these balances effectively become “dust.”

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Furthermore, many investors and traders keep their Bitcoin on centralized exchanges, occasionally withdrawing for long-term storage. However, high fees make withdrawals expensive, potentially leading to sell-offs to convert BTC to fiat or other cryptocurrencies.

On the Flipside

  • The $100 average transaction fee is a global metric. In regions with lower average incomes, users may be more impacted by the fee increase compared to users in wealthier regions.
  • High transaction fees can hinder Bitcoin adoption as a regular means of payment, especially for smaller transactions.

Why This Matters

This surge in Bitcoin transaction fees paints a concerning picture for the cryptocurrency’s accessibility and scalability. While miners benefit in the short term, the high cost of moving or holding small amounts of Bitcoin could lead to a sell-off from frustrated users and hinder mainstream adoption. 

Bitcoin’s price is recovering after a recent dip caused by geopolitical tensions. Analysts have mixed forecasts on what will happen next. Find out more in this article:
BTC Eyes $65K Rebound Post 2nd Dip In Iran-Israel Tensions

Nervous about the upcoming halving? This article explores why Bitcoin halving might be a marathon, not a sprint, for investors:
The Bitcoin Halving Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Here’s Why

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Kyle Calvert

Kyle Calvert is a cryptocurrency news reporter for DailyCoin, specializing in Ripple, stablecoins, as well as price and market analysis news. Before his current role, Kyle worked as a student researcher in the cryptocurrency industry, gaining an understanding of how digital currencies work, their potential uses, and their impact on the economy and society. He completed his Masters and Honors degrees in Blockchain Technology within Esports and Business and Event management within Esports at Staffordshire University.