Bitcoin opponents often resort to blaming this cryptocurrency for its clumsiness and congestion at its blockchain which leads to high transaction fees. Especially, troubling disputes stirred up at the end of December 2017, when bitcoin median transaction soared to the all-time height of $34. However, there’s more hope for 2018 as fees have already started decreasing visibly amidst enhanced Segwit adoption.
Positive Trends in Bitcoin Fees
According to bitinfocharts.com, within the last three months of 2017 bitcoin median transaction fee displayed a rise from $1.5 in October to the fantastic pick on December 23, a day after bitcoin reached its record of $20,000 per unit. Fortunately, fees started to decline right after Christmas, reaching the low of $12.5 on January 2 and demonstrating a slight increase up to $15.5 on bitcoin’s birthday January 3.
At the same time, a transaction processed in the space of the next six blocks would be subject to an average commission of $15.79, as bitcoinfees.info data shows. The fee for the subsequent three blocks would be $16.54, rising to $17.29 for the following block. Even though charges of $14-17 might seem for somebody an unaffordable burden, there still some positive progress as the fees halved within less than two weeks.
Currently, the number of operations waiting “in the queue” is less than 90,000. That’s an incredible result as just on December 30 there were more than 115,000 transactions in the mempool.
Segwit Conquering Bitcoin Wallets
It is known that high transaction fees are the consequence of bitcoin scalability problem. One of the solutions to it is the bitcoin’s upgrade protocol SegWit. Interestingly, but the drop in bitcoin fees has occurred alongside with the adoption of this technology by influential wallets.
For example, recently BTC.com and Localbitcoins.com have added it to their wallets. The first mining pool informed that now with Segwit bitcoin users will have fewer headaches with both fees and transaction waiting time. The support is now available both for desktop and mobile wallets of BTC.com platform.
Even though Segwit technology has been embraced by these two wallet providers, there’s still a long way to go. Currently, the protocol is supported by only 11% of exchanges, so it will take some time for it to make an impact on the average bitcoin fees. But there’s more hope once influential Coinbase introduces this technology as well.
Lower Fees Before 2019?
Bitcoin’s blockchain wasn’t always that overloaded. In its early days, the blocks were quite empty, so it was very cheap to conduct bitcoin transactions. Perhaps, this year the solution to this problem will finally be found, primarily, after there has been a successful live test of the Lightning Network, the most anticipated bitcoin technological trend of 2018.
Commission and transaction waiting time are still too high, so lots of bitcoin enthusiasts give preference to bitcoin as an asset than a payment unit. However, 2018 can bring to the bitcoin community off-chain solution to the scalability problem.
Charts Sources: bitinfocharts.com; bitcoinfees.info