Explaining why Bitcoin miners are celebrating Runes post BTC’s halving

  • Network got congested with more than 232,000 transactions waiting for approval
  • Astronomical surge in fees was attributed to launch of Runes protocol

Bitcoin [BTC] underwent its fourth halving earlier in the day and contrary to what you may think, miners have been celebrating ever since.

Rewards down, fees up

While the rewards given to miners for creating each block halved, they were more than compensated by an explosive surge in transaction fees paid by users.

According to AMBCrypto’s analysis of Mempool data, the iconic halving block – 840,000 – saw a whopping 37.62 BTCs in fees collected by miners, worth nearly $2.4 million at prevailing market prices. Combined with the slashed block subsidy of 3.12 BTCs, miners earned more than $2.6 million from the block. Several blocks after the halving also raked in more than a million in fees.

The total fees shot up dramatically, exceeding the Ordinals frenzy in December and just short of the all-time highs (ATH) hit in May 2023.

Source: Mempool

At the time of writing, fees per transaction were hovering between $50 and $60. In fact, more than 232,000 transactions were pending approval and memory usage exceeded 300 MB.

Say hello to Runes

Popular Bitcoin market analyst Dylan LeClair linked the astronomical surge in fees to new token protocol, Runes, that went live with the halving block.

Developed by Casey Rodmarmor who also introduced the Bitcoin Ordinals concept last year, Runes also allows users to mint tokens on the Bitcoin chain. Unlike Ordinals inscriptions, however, every unit of Rune is the same, meaning they can be interchanged.

According to the Rune explorer,  about 1171 Runes had been “etched” – the term given for their creation on the chain – at press time. Total transactions were approaching 44,000, with $12 million collected in fees.

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Old fault lines resurface

Like Ordinals, the launch of Runes drove a wedge between Bitcoin purists and pragmatists. Dylan LeClair called Runes as “pure degenerate speculation”, offering no utility.

A crypto-trader moon complained about the complexities of the technology, describing it as “complete chaos.”

However, another X user uofreetepuppel, likely a proponent, called out the skeptics who raised concerns over Ordinals previously and Runes now.

Meanwhile, miners whose revenue streams got impacted after halving are not complaining one bit.

Next: Solana ‘hasn’t nearly hit its scalability ceiling’ and that means…

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