The Rising Stars: Unraveling the Astronomical Bitcoin Fees Phenomenon

By ⚡ Daniela ⚡ | Me and Bitcoin | 14 May 2023

In recent days, Bitcoin transaction fees have skyrocketed, reaching astronomical levels. However, the reason behind these exorbitant fees does not stem from the lack of scaling for standard transactions. Instead, it can be attributed to a new phenomenon known as the BRC-20 token mania.

The BRC-20 token standard has emerged on the Bitcoin blockchain, sparking a speculative frenzy among traders. These tokens, often referred to as memecoins, have gained immense popularity and witnessed staggering appreciation, with some experiencing remarkable surges of up to 28,000% in just a matter of weeks.

Built on the Ordinals protocol, these tokens allow for the creation and transfer of fungible digital assets directly on the Bitcoin blockchain. What sets them apart is the ability to inscribe data on satoshis, which are the smallest units of Bitcoin, effectively transforming them into tokens.

While these memecoins do not possess any inherent utility or programmability, they have captivated traders solely for their speculative potential. The allure lies in the promise of significant returns on investment. Since their introduction in March, an astonishing 14,450 BRC-20 tokens have been launched, collectively amassing a market capitalization exceeding $1 billion, back at about $500,000 million at the moment.

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Among the plethora of memecoins, Ordi stands out as the largest, boasting a staggering market value of $350 million. As a memecoin paying homage to the Ordinals protocol, it has garnered substantial attention and investor interest.

The rise of memecoins on the Bitcoin blockchain signifies an intriguing trend, as these tokens operate on a network primarily designed for facilitating secure, decentralized transactions. While the BRC-20 token mania has contributed to the surge in Bitcoin fees, it also highlights the broader impact of speculative trading and the growing interest in digital assets.

As the cryptocurrency landscape continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how this token mania will shape the future of Bitcoin and whether it will spark further debates about scalability, utility, and the underlying principles of decentralized finance. Nonetheless, the BRC-20 token phenomenon serves as a compelling case study in the realm of digital currencies, showcasing the intersection of technology, speculation, and market dynamics in a rapidly evolving financial ecosystem.


The growing interest in memecoins, particularly those based on the BRC-20 standard, has had a significant impact on the Bitcoin network. As more transactions related to these tokens flooded the network, Bitcoin transaction fees surged to levels not seen since April 2021. The increased congestion led to a substantial rise in fees paid to miners, with average fees skyrocketing by approximately 1,500% to reach in some cases to +30 USD for a simple Bitcoin transfer.


Exploring Alternatives to $30 Transaction Fees

During times of high Bitcoin transaction fees, there are several options you can consider if you need to transact with your Bitcoin. These options can help you manage the costs and potentially reduce the fees associated with your transactions.


  • One option is to optimize the fee you pay for your Bitcoin transaction. Many wallets and exchanges provide the ability to customize the transaction fee based on your preferences. You can manually set a lower fee, but keep in mind that choosing a lower fee may result in longer confirmation times or a higher likelihood of your transaction being delayed in the mempool. Fee estimation tools provided by some wallets can help you determine an appropriate fee based on current network conditions. I'm usually checking this site:
  • Another option is to use a Bitcoin wallet or exchange that supports Segregated Witness (SegWit) addresses. SegWit is a protocol upgrade implemented in 2017 that improves the efficiency of Bitcoin transactions by reducing their size. Transactions from SegWit addresses typically have lower fees compared to legacy Bitcoin addresses. By using a SegWit-enabled wallet or service, you can potentially save on transaction fees. If you find yourself using a wallet or exchange that doesn't support SegWit, it's advisable to switch to one that does in order to enjoy lower fees and improved transaction efficiency in the Bitcoin network.
  • Another option is to use a Bitcoin wallet or service that allows you to customize the transaction fee. Some wallets offer fee estimation tools that can help you determine an appropriate fee based on the current network conditions. By adjusting the fee manually, you can find a balance between cost and transaction speed. If you can't wait any longer, use RBF (Replace By Fee) feature in that wallet. I really like
  • Additionally, you can consider using the Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN) for smaller, more frequent transactions. LN is a layer-2 scaling solution that enables faster and cheaper Bitcoin transactions by conducting them off-chain. By utilizing LN, you can reduce transaction fees and enjoy near-instant settlement times for eligible transactions. In that case, have a look at Lightning Strikes: My Top 3 Bitcoin Wallet Recommendations for Lightning Network.


Fun fact: On May 7 2023, a significant milestone was reached in the Bitcoin network as transaction fees in a block exceeded the block subsidy for the first time ever. Block 788,695 showcased transaction fees of 6.7 bitcoin, surpassing the block reward of 6.25 bitcoin. The surge in fees can be attributed to the increased demand for block space primarily driven by BRC-20 transactions. 

The occurrence of high fees in Bitcoin transactions serves as an important reminder of their contribution to enhancing the network's security and supporting the expansion of miners. While high fees may be inconvenient for us, users, they play a crucial role in incentivizing miners to secure the network and invest in its growth. It underscores the fundamental economic principles that underpin the Bitcoin ecosystem, ensuring the long-term sustainability and resilience of the network.


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⚡ Daniela ⚡
⚡ Daniela ⚡

As a passionate writer with a keen interest in exploring innovative technologies, I discovered the captivating world of Bitcoin. Here to write my thoughts.

Me and Bitcoin
Me and Bitcoin

This blog focuses exclusively on Bitcoin, covering various aspects related to the cryptocurrency. It explores Bitcoin's history, its economic principles, and its potential implications in the financial world. The blog also delves into the potential impact of Bitcoin adoption on economics, politics, and society as a whole.

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