Over the past week, there’s been heightened tension around the conversation about bitcoin fees and confirmation times. Many individuals have been complaining about unconfirmed transactions and average median transaction fees, costing $31-52 USD on December 23. With bitcoin being divisible by eight decimals, many of those decimals are rendered useless as small amounts of satoshis held on wallets can never be spent unless fees subside.
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Is It Faster and Cheaper to Send Private Keys by Fedex Than the Bitcoin Network?
The discussion about fees and confirmation times has gotten hectic as people are complaining about network fees spiking above the $30 region for just a basic 226-byte transaction. At the time of writing, there are 219887 Unconfirmed Transactions according to Blockchain.info, and that number is lower due to the weekend lulls.
Businesses that deal with bitcoin like Coinbase, Bitpay, and Shapeshift are all telling their users about the delays. Bitpay initially required its card users to load more than $100 worth of bitcoin because of high fees. The company changed it’s mind and reverted back to $5 invoices and card loads, but stated it still recommended higher payments. Shapeshift is requesting people shift more than $250 worth of BTC in order to swap for another cryptocurrency. Shapeshift’s CEO Erik Voorhees is not pleased with the fee market situation, stating:
When it’s cheaper (and sometimes faster!) to Fedex private keys to someone than to send a digital payment, Bitcoin is no longer a P2P electronic cash system.
The Pineapple Fund Pays $1,100 More in Fees to Push a Donation
Further, just recently news.Bitcoin.com reported on the anonymous donor called the Pineapple Fund who has been donating 5,057 BTC to charitable causes. This week the Pineapple fund posted to the Reddit forum /r/btc and had a “bitcoin transaction fee rant.”
“We’ve had some hiccups with bitcoin core payment processing. One transaction, in which we used Segwit and paid an effective fee rate of 298 satoshis per byte, which did not confirm for four days and counting — At the time of sending, 298 sat/b looked like it would confirm within an hour or two,” explains the Pineapple Fund.
Since this created a series of unconfirmed transactions, we had to do something drastic: use Child-Pays-For-Parent with a very significant fee. We made a minimal transaction with a size of just 215 bytes, and paid 0.0794 BTC ($1,100 USD at time of sending) in order to expedite confirmation to all of our previous transactions.
On December 23 the average bitcoin core fee was US$52 per transaction.
Bitcoin.org Owner Won’t Renew the Websites SSL Certificate With Bitcoin Due to High Fees
Even the owner of Bitcoin.org is complaining about bitcoin core fees these days. The web portal’s owner Cobra Bitcoin says he won’t ever be able to use bitcoin to pay to renew the SSL certificate for the website. “We really need these ridiculous fees to come down, and in a way that doesn’t depend on us begging centralized services to ‘Adopt Segwit,’” says Cobra Bitcoin. The anonymous individual has been saying a great deal about the high transaction fees this week.
“The only ones willing to bear these costs (increasing transaction fees) in bitcoin will inevitably be financial institutions or large businesses,” Cobra explains via Twitter.
Larger blocks do make it harder to run a full node, but large fees are worse and make full nodes impotent participants in the network.
The Tor Project Invites People Who Want to Donate Less Than $100 to Use the Bitcoin Cash Tip Bot
Sometimes transactions take over three days to settle even when people think they’re paying the correct median rate. Bitcoin’s fee market has been definitely getting cryptocurrency proponents frustrated, a sentiment that can be seen in forums and across social media. Because Bitpay was initially charging a minimum of $100 for invoices idea put a damper on charities who are looking to accept payments less than that amount. For that reason, the Tor Project explained it was soliciting bitcoin cash donations through the Tipprbot platform so people can donate smaller amounts of funds.
What do you think about bitcoin network fees lately? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Blockchain.info, bitinfocharts.com, and Twitter.
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