The typical cost of an Ethereum transaction has now passed the cost of a meal in Brazil, as well as the cost of a Bitcoin transaction.
Blockchain data by BitInfoCharts shows that the median transaction fee for Ethereum, or what a user may typically expect to pay, is now $3.82, while the average fee is even higher at $7.37. Meanwhile, according to data aggregated by Numbeo from independent and official sources, the typical cost of an inexpensive meal in a restaurant in Brazil is 20 reals, or about $3.72 USD. This means that an Ethereum user from Brazil with limited funds could potentially be forced to choose between having a meal and sending a transaction.
The comparisons of Ethereum fees to the cost of living in Brazil are also applicable to other countries such as Mexico, where a typical inexpensive meal can cost 100 pesos, or about $4.50 USD. This is slightly below the median Ethereum transaction fee, but below the average.
Bitcoin has been displaced as the high-fee crypto king
The rising fees for Ethereum have made the network more expensive to use than Bitcoin, traditionally the higher-fee cryptocurrency network. At time of writing, the median Bitcoin transaction fee is $2.64, while the average is $2.64. While this is still high compared with other competing cryptocurrency fees and even some fiat currency payment processors, it has been surpassed by Ethereum. Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash all have median transaction fees well below 1 cent USD.
Worthy of note is that, while Ethereum fees are significantly more expensive, the network also processes a high number of transactions compared with competitors. Ethereum currently processes about 1.23 million transactions daily, compared with Bitcoin's roughly 346,000. Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash together process about 80,000 daily transactions, though Bitcoin Cash and Dash have processed millions of transactions each during past network stress tests without a corresponding spike in fees. At its peak Litecoin processed over 225,000 transactions, with the median fee spiking to about 26 cents per transaction.
Crypto interest surges in the developing world, creating demand for cheaper networks
While transaction fees on the two major cryptocurrencies may have priced out many typical users in developing countries, interest in cryptocurrencies has nonetheless risen significantly. Volume charts on peer-to-peer exchanges LocalBitcoins,Paxful, and Bisq show volume spikes in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and others.
Lower-cost cryptocurrency solutions are nonetheless available to countries such as Brazil. Zaigar, a cryptocurrency micropayment platform based in Brazil, famously switched to Dash from Ethereum in order to save on fees. Merchant platform Kamoney added Dash last year enabling the payment of utility bills and other expenses inexpensively with cryptocurrency.
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