The cost of transacting on the Bitcoin blockchain fell sharply last week as the network reverted to less frantic levels of activity. 

  • The average fee per transaction in U.S. dollars fell by 58% from the two-month high of $6.47 to $2.72 in the four days to Aug. 9, according to data source
  • The sharp drop comes alongside a decline in the size of the memory pool (mempool) – the store of valid transactions waiting to be confirmed on Bitcoin's blockchain.
Bitcoin memory pool (blue bars) and transaction size
Source: Bitcoin Visuals
  • The number of unconfirmed transactions topped out at a 2.5-month high of 56,648 on July 28 with a total block size of 53.5 MB and has been on a declining trend ever since, according to data provider Bitcoin Visuals.
  • As of Sunday, the mempool had 3,656 unconfirmed transactions, the lowest since July 12, with a total block size of 9.9 MB.
  • When there is a dramatic rise in transaction activity, the mempool can become congested, leading to longer waiting times.
  • This happens because miners can validate only 1 MB of transactions per block mined every 10 minutes.
  • Miners respond to congestion by prioritizing transactions offering higher fees, forcing other users to increase mining fees.
  • As such, average fees paid tend to rise with the size of the mempool and drop with the easing of congestion.

Rally-led rise?

  • The mempool expanded sharply in the second half of July, as bitcoin rose from $9,100 to levels above $10,000, confirming a bullish breakout.
  • The number of pending transactions surged by over 1,900% in the 16 days to July 28.
  • During that period, the mean fee volume increased by more than 650%.
  • The number of unconfirmed transactions jumped to a 28-month high of 267,068 in mid-May after prices rose into five figures, extending the meteoric rise from the low of $3,867 reached on March 13.

Also read: Bitcoin Suddenly Drops by $500 After Passing $12K

Read more about...

Transaction FeesBitcoin
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.