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Ethereum Gas Prices and Bitcoin Miner Revenue Hit Record Lows

Ethereum

On Saturday, the median gas price on Ethereum’s mainnet dipped below 3 gwei, a milestone not seen since 2020. This significant reduction in transaction costs suggests that Ethereum’s Layer 2 networks are effectively easing the expense of sending transactions on the world’s second most valuable blockchain.

A year ago, median gas prices were around 15 to 20 gwei, marking a stark contrast to Saturday’s low values. The peak gas prices of 2024 were recorded in March, with the highest one-day median gas price hitting 83 gwei on March 5, according to a Dune Analytics dashboard by @hildobby.

Impact of the Dencun Upgrade on Ethereum

The steady decline in gas prices can be traced back to the Dencun upgrade, which went live on Ethereum on March 13. This upgrade introduced “blobs” to Ethereum, significantly reducing the cost of transactions on Layer 2 networks. As a result, the median price of gas has been on a downward trend since.

The reduced gas prices have had a notable impact on Ethereum’s burn rate, driving it to a 12-month low. According to data from The Block, Ethereum is currently experiencing a slight inflationary phase. The seven-day average supply growth stands at 0.56% per year, as per ultrasound.money. This is a critical development for Ethereum’s economy, as lower gas prices generally encourage more activity on the network, potentially balancing out the slight inflation.

Bitcoin Miners Face Revenue Challenges

In the Bitcoin ecosystem, miners are grappling with record-low revenues per terahash per second (TH/s) following the most recent block reward halving event on April 20. This halving has significantly reduced the amount of Bitcoin miners receive for their efforts, impacting their profitability.

One contributing factor to the low profitability is the decrease in new wallets entering the Bitcoin network. The seven-day average of new Bitcoin wallets has dropped to its lowest level since 2018, reflecting a six-year low in new user adoption.

Despite these challenges, some mining companies are still thriving. CleanSpark, for instance, has outperformed Bitcoin’s price year-to-date, showcasing robust performance in a challenging market. Similarly, Bitfarms and Core Scientific have also seen their stock prices exceed Bitcoin’s gains for the year. However, smaller mining firms are struggling to maintain profitability under these conditions.

Political Support for Bitcoin Miners

Adding a layer of intrigue to the situation, former U.S. President Donald Trump has met with representatives from the Bitcoin mining industry. Trump expressed his support for miners and promised to advocate for them if he wins the upcoming Presidential election in November. This political endorsement could have significant implications for the industry, potentially influencing regulatory decisions and public perception of cryptocurrency mining in the United States.

Broader Implications for the Cryptocurrency Market

The developments in both the Ethereum and Bitcoin ecosystems highlight the dynamic nature of the cryptocurrency market. Ethereum’s technological advancements and the impact of the Dencun upgrade demonstrate how innovation can drive down costs and influence network activity. In contrast, Bitcoin’s recent challenges underscore the ongoing volatility and external factors that can affect mining profitability.

The drop in Ethereum’s gas prices and the subsequent decline in its burn rate suggest a potential shift in how users interact with the network. Lower transaction costs could lead to increased usage and adoption of Ethereum-based applications, fostering a more vibrant ecosystem. However, the slight inflationary trend is a factor that the community will need to monitor closely.

On the Bitcoin front, the decreased profitability for miners raises questions about the long-term sustainability of mining operations, especially for smaller firms. The decline in new wallet creation also points to potential hurdles in attracting new users to the network. Political support from figures like Donald Trump could play a role in shaping the future landscape of Bitcoin mining, influencing regulatory policies and potentially providing a boost to the industry.

Conclusion

The cryptocurrency market continues to evolve rapidly, with significant developments in both the Ethereum and Bitcoin ecosystems. Ethereum’s declining gas prices and the positive impact of the Dencun upgrade contrast sharply with the revenue challenges faced by Bitcoin miners post-halving. As these trends unfold, stakeholders across the industry will need to adapt to the changing landscape, leveraging technological advancements and navigating external factors to sustain growth and profitability.

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