For most of Bitcoin’s lifetime, it has been relatively cheap to send a transaction across the blockchain. Payment processors commonly charge around 3% for domestic transactions, and upwards of 10% when sending money internationally. And yet, Bitcoiners can often use the network for less than $1 USD per transaction.
That’s not always the case however, and this week has turned into a perfect example:
The mempool has become increasingly full over the past several days, to the point where there are nearly 500,000 unconfirmed transactions as of writing — an abnormal occurrence to be sure, and one that has driven per transaction fees high above their typical average.
There are a few different theories being passed around as to why transaction fees are growing at such a staggering rate: