Although Bitcoin’s network transaction fees have decreased and a portion of the unconfirmed transfer backlog has diminished, the protocol still grapples with over 289,000 transactions awaiting confirmation. As of this writing, more than 218 blocks must be processed to fully alleviate this congestion.
Bitcoin’s Lingering Transaction Backlog
Data collected on May 20, 2023, at 1:35 p.m. Eastern Time reveals approximately 289,385 unconfirmed BTC transactions lingering in the backlog. This is slightly lower than the figure recorded nine days earlier on May 11, when just over 300,000 transactions were pending miner confirmation. However, fees have fallen since then; at that time, a high-priority fee was $3 per transaction.
Currently, mempool.space statistics indicate that a high-priority fee stands at $1.81 per transaction, while a medium-priority fee costs $1.62. A low-priority transfer, according to the site’s data, will amount to $1.47 per transaction on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, metrics from bitinfocharts.com show the average BTC transaction fee as 0.00023 BTC per transaction, or $6.07. Concerning median-sized transaction fees on the Bitcoin network, bitinfocharts.com reports a fee of around 0.00013 BTC or $3.55 per transfer.
The persistence of Bitcoin’s unconfirmed transfer backlog has led some to speculate that demand may eventually wane. Yet others argue that demand could endure for an extended period owing to Ordinal inscriptions and BRC20 tokens‘ existence. Presently, about 8,128,158 inscriptions can be found on the Bitcoin blockchain. Moreover, the current value of the 24,677 BRC20 tokens in existence is an estimated $592 million.
Despite the ongoing inscription and token trend occurring on Litecoin and Dogecoin blockchains as well, minting and transactions linked to inscriptions and BRC20s have not decelerated on the Bitcoin network. Furthermore, the Lightning Network (LN) capacity has consistently declined since our last report on the issue, which indicated the LN held 5,415 BTC on May 14. That figure has since contracted to 5,367 BTC.