Mempool Maxes Out

Bitcoin's mempool has never been so full - but this time, Ordinals don't seem to be to blame.

What is filling up the mempool?

While all eyes have been on the ETF, the Bitcoin network has quietly struggling. Blocks are filling up, and users are having to wait longer and longer to have transactions confirmed (or else increase the fee to gain priority). The mempool—the holding pen in which transactions are kept until they are confirmed by miners—is more full than it has ever been before.

Ordinals, Or Something Else?

In recent months, this has been a common occurrence. The rise of Ordinals has led to large volumes of non-financial Bitcoin transactions, which fill up block space and push up fees for other users. This has proven controversial, with some Bitcoiners characterizing Ordinals as "spam" transactions, and some pools even censoring them from the network.

Is Knots The Ordinals Killer?
New Bitcoin software addresses the issue that critics call an ongoing “spam” attack on the blockchain.

However, the current situation is unusually bad, since the mempool has never been this full. Moreover, there are a couple of odd features. As Mati Greenspan notes, Ordinals are being inscribed in relatively low numbers, around 100,000 per day rather than the 400,000 per day we saw at the end of last year.

Dune Analytics Ordinals chart
Ordinals transactions are relatively low at present.

Moreover, fees have actually fallen recently, indicating that something else strange is going on. All things being equal, fees should rise when the mempool fills up.

Joe Hoenicke's website shows how bad the situation has become. What's not so clear is why. Obviously, a large number of low-fee transactions have been submitted recently, but there's no obvious cause (like Ordinals).

Mempool transaction chart
Transactions held in mempool are at an all-time high.

What does seem clear is that this has nothing to do with the ETFs, for a change...

Do you have any answers why the mempool is full? Let us know on Twitter.

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