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Ethereum, Bitcoin users reignite scalability debate as gas fees surge

Ethereum, Bitcoin users reignite scalability debate as gas fees surge

A recent surge in transaction fees for Ethereum and Bitcoin has sparked a renewed discussion about scalability solutions and the role of layer 2s.

Over the past day, users of cryptocurrencies have been posting screenshots showing extremely high transaction fees on Ethereum and Bitcoin. Some screenshots revealed gas fees as high as $220 for a high-priority transaction on Ethereum, while others showed figures around $100. Meanwhile, Bitcoin users reported fees of around $10 for high-priority transactions, which is notably lower than the average Bitcoin transaction cost of around $1 over the last three months.

At the time of writing, a test transaction conducted by Cointelegraph on the decentralized exchange Uniswap showed a network cost of $45.65 for a $300 transfer from an Ethereum hot wallet.

These fee spikes have led proponents of other blockchains, such as Solana, to highlight how much cheaper transactions are on their respective chains. Some have compared the low costs of Solana transactions to the significantly higher fees on Ethereum and Bitcoin, sparking more interest in alternatives to the high fees.

Prior to the spike, transaction costs on Ethereum averaged around $11.35 on November 8, dropping as low as $1.40 on October 14.

The rise in gas fees has resulted in discussions about scaling solutions, particularly whether to focus on scaling the base layer or relying on layer 2s. Developers of Bitcoin and Ethereum have chosen to prioritize decentralization and security at the base layer and offload much of the execution environment to layer 2s to make transactions cheaper. Meanwhile, critics have pointed to several outages on Solana due to network congestion and have argued that a modular blockchain design is a better approach to solve scalability.