In brief

  • Ethereum miners saw a record profit of over $500,000 in transaction fees in one hour.
  • As the blockchain keeps growing, its community is concerned over steep fees.
  • Increasing Gas limits per block could also lead to the network becoming unwieldy.

Miners on the Ethereum blockchain have set a new record by earning half a million dollars in transaction fees in just one hour, according to crypto analytics platform Glassnode.

While record revenues are an undoubtedly welcome achievement for miners, the Ethereum community has been raising concerns over steep—and constantly growing—transaction fees for some time now. As Decrypt reported, both Ethereum supporters and rivals are acknowledging that fees are getting out of hand—but there is no clear solution.

“Prediction: Ethereum gas fees ruin Defi for normal users (until Ethereum 2.0 in 1-2 years),” tweeted ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees. (DeFi is a term for decentralized finance.) He added that this might push developers to start building on other compatible platforms.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin acknowledged the issue with fees on Twitter today, but reiterated his stance that Ethereum users should be using layer two technology to get around the issue.

“To those replying with "gas fees are too high", my answer to that is "well then more people should be accepting payments directly through zksync/loopring/OMG". Seriously, scaling to 2500+ TPS for simple-payments applications is here, we just need to... use it,” he said.

In mid-July, Decrypt reported that Ethereum’s network used a new daily all-time high of 74 billion Gas (units in which transaction fees are measured). Since then, that figure has already grown to 79 billion Gas by August 31—and it keeps rising, according to Etherscan.

While there are limits to the total value of transaction fees that can be included in one block in the blockchain, Ethereum miners keep raising them. In June, they pushed up the limit from 10 million to 12.5 million, where it currently stands.

But expanding the capacity of the Ethereum blockchain has an unwelcome side effect. It makes it bloat at a much faster rate. Glassnode noted that Ethereum’s blockchain is now growing at a rate of 260 megabytes per day.

“That is a 2x increase since the beginning of the year. And 40% higher than Bitcoin's current blokchain (sic) growth rate – which is at an ATH (186MB per day),” the platform tweeted yesterday.

Ethereum might be the place where everything is happening—but is it sustainable?