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Bitcoin Network Faces Downturn in Transactions and Fees as Halving Approaches

source-logo  news.bitcoin.com 19 February 2024 07:00, UTC

The volume of daily transactions on the Bitcoin network has seen a significant decline since Jan. 28, 2024, with numbers falling from peaks above 600,000 to below 300,000 transactions per day. This downturn is in sync with a decrease in the daily creation of Ordinal inscriptions, overall easing congestion and reducing onchain fees.

Network Activity Slows on Bitcoin as Ordinal Inscriptions Dip

Data from Feb. 17, 2024, indicates that bitcoin miners processed 327,713 transactions over a 24-hour timeframe. The month of February has experienced a noticeable dip in daily transaction activity, a stark contrast to the 636,523 transfers recorded on Jan. 28.

From that point, a gradual decrease in transaction volume has been observed, reaching a monthly low of 278,098 transactions on Feb. 6. This decline mirrors the reduced activity in Ordinal transactions throughout the month.

Following Feb. 3, which witnessed the creation of just over 300,000 inscriptions in a single day, there has been a noticeable downturn in the number of inscriptions since. Just three days later, the count plummeted to a mere 35,814 inscriptions for the day.

This reduction in inscriptions has led to fewer transactions, diminishing the fees miners once enjoyed in December 2023 and January 2024, thanks to the associated surge in demand for block space. This month, miners have seen some relief in mempool congestion, with unconfirmed transactions dropping from over 200,000 before Feb. 9 to a current figure of 139,625.

As a result of the lessened activity, the average transaction fee has seen a significant decrease from the Feb. 3 high of $14.81 to now just $4.56 per transaction or 27 satoshis per virtual byte. The median BTC transaction fee has also declined, moving from $4.16 per transaction to today’s rate of $1.75 or 10.4 satoshis per virtual byte.

Despite the downturn, miners have still managed to collect over $816 million this month, with more than $47 million coming from onchain transaction fees. Additionally, the hash price, which estimates the daily value of one petahash per second (PH/s) of hashing power, has decreased from a Feb. 14 peak of $92 to the current $82 per PH/s.

This shift in Bitcoin’s transaction landscape, characterized by a notable decrease in daily activity and fees, signals a potential recalibration within the network’s economy. As miners adjust to the new norm of lower earnings and users benefit from reduced fees, the ecosystem might be entering a phase of stabilization.

With fewer than 9,000 blocks remaining until Bitcoin’s fourth halving event, the rise in Ordinal inscriptions, heightened demand for block space, and increased fees have become key factors in sustaining bitcoin miners going forward. This support may be crucial as they face the prospect of their revenues being slashed by half in April.

What do you think about the reduced activity the Bitcoin network has seen in recent times?Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.