Bitcoin fees top Ethereum for 3 days in a row as halving approaches

Fees on Bitcoin have surpassed Ethereum for three consecutive days as miners and traders prepare for the upcoming Bitcoin halving, and, to a lesser extent, the introduction of Runes on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin miners have cashed in $7.47 million in fees on April 17 — about $160,000 more than the $7.31 million paid to Ethereum stakers, according to Crypto Fees.

Bitcoin miners also raked in $9.98 million and $5.91 million across April 15 and 16 — beating out Ethereum stakers by $3.5 million and 1.1 million on those respective days.

Ethereum, however, maintains a narrow lead on a 7-day average fee basis at $8.55 million compared to Bitcoin’s $7.57 million.

Largest fees by blockchains and decentralized finance projects. Source: Crypto Fees

Bitcoin transaction fees are determined by the size or data volume of the transaction and blockspace demand at the time of the transaction request.

The uptick in Bitcoin (BTC) fees comes at a crucial time for Bitcoin miners as April 20’s Bitcoin halving event will result in the mining subsidy being sliced from 6.25 BTC ($398,000) to 3.125 BTC ($199,000).

Currently, about 900 Bitcoin are mined per day, which equates to about $57.2 million at current prices.

Using April 17’s $7.47 million fee count, this means transaction fees accounted for 11.5% of the Bitcoin mining industry’s total block rewards.

However, the share of block rewards from transaction fees will increase considerably after the halving event as approximately 450 Bitcoin will be mined then.

Miners will therefore be relying more on higher fees and a continued increase in Bitcoin’s price to make up for the revenue fall that it will experience — at least in the short term — from the halving.

Meanwhile, the introduction of NFT-like Ordinals inscriptions in January 2023 has helped Bitcoin miners chalk up more revenue from transaction fees — and a new revenue stream will become available when Runes, a new Bitcoin token standard, is released when the halving occurs at block 840,000.

Related: China has a Trojan Horse in US Bitcoin mining infrastructure

Runes will compete with Ordinals by aiming to make it easier to create fungible tokens on Bitcoin for memecoin enthusiasts and other community-driven audiences.

Its creator, Casey Rodarmor, who also invented Ordinals, says Runes are fully UTXO-based and therefore should not spam Bitcoin to the same extent that Ordinals has.

Source: Casey Rodamor

The recent uptick in Bitcoin fees may have been partially driven by a decline in BRC-20 token prices in recent days as some trader attention shifts to Runes.

Ordinals (ORDI) and Sats (SATS), the two largest BRC-20s by market capitalization, have seen falls of 38% and 43% respectively over the last week, according to CoinMarketCap.

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