Bitcoin’s transaction fee crisis is over—for now

The median daily transaction fee on the bitcoin network fell to $0.79 on Sunday, a six-month low. That represents a dramatic 97-percent decline from the peak of $34 reached on December 23. The median daily bitcoin transaction fee was more than $10 from mid-December until mid-January but has been declining steadily since then.

The high fees of the last few months have been a crisis for the bitcoin network. Bitcoin fans once touted the network’s near-zero fees as a selling point. But as fees soared in late 2017, businesses started backing away from the network.

Video game maker Valve stopped accepting bitcoin payments for its Steam platform in December, writing that “it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option.” That same month Bitpay, a company that accepts bitcoin payments on behalf of merchants, announced that it was setting a minimum transaction size of $100—though the company quickly cut the minimum to $5 in response to customer outrage. Stripe, a major credit card processor, stopped accepting bitcoin payments for customers in January, arguing that thanks to high fees, there were “fewer and fewer use cases” for the payment network.


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