Bitcoin’s Network Slows, Causing Spike in Unconfirmed Transactions and Fees

Michael LaVere

Bitcoin’s network has slowed down following the block reward halving, leading to a buildup in the mempool. 

Bitcoin’s mempool has reached its largest size in two years as mining activity on the network has decreased following the block reward halving.

The mempool represents all of the unconfirmed transactions that have been initiated on Bitcoin’s network but have yet to be included in a block.

The spiking mempool and glut of unconfirmed transactions is the result of reduced mining activity on bitcoin’s blockchain following May 11’s halving.

Transactions waiting in the pool are given preference by miners based upon their transaction fee, causing low-fee sends to be caught in the digital equivalent of limbo. 

Due to the high level of competition for block space, the network’s transaction fees have been on the rise. 

According to data from BitInfoCharts, the average network fee for Bitcoin has reached a 2020 high of $6.64, up from $1.92 prior to the halving.

Users are being forced to pay a premium in order to ensure their transaction is given preference over the backlog of the mempool. 

In addition to rising fees, the dropoff in network activity has led to blocks taking longer to be mined. According to BitInfoCharts, block times have reached as high as 14 minutes post-halving, up from its historic average of 10 minutes. 

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