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Bitcoin Users Spend Record $2.4m In Fees On Halving Block
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Bitcoin Users Spend Record $2.4m In Fees On Halving Block

The 2024 halving block has gone down as the most expensive block ever mined in Bitcoin’s history — with users scrambling to inscribe rare assets via the new Runes Protocol.

Bitcoin users have spent a staggering 37.7 Bitcoin (BTC) in fees — worth just over $2.4 million at current prices — to nab their share of limited space on the fourth-ever Bitcoin halving block. 

At 12:09 am UTC on April 20, Bitcoin miner ViaBTC produced the 840,000th block, triggering the automated protocol that cuts miner rewards by 50% from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC per block.

Block 840,000 rapidly became the most sought-after piece of digital real estate in Bitcoin’s history with users dropping a total of 37.67 BTC on fees, according to data from Bitcoin block explorer mempool.space.

Including the miner subsidy of 3.125 BTC, a total of 40.7 BTC — worth $2.6 million — was paid to Bitcoin miner ViaBTC for producing the halving block.

The record-breaking fees were attributed to degens racing to inscribe and etch rare satoshis on the halving block — with much of the activity stemming from a frenzy of activity on Bitcoin Ordinals creator Casey Rodmarmor’s new Runes Protocol which went live at the same time as the halving.

See Also: Bitcoin Completes Its Fourth Halving, Block Rewards Now Stand At 3.125 BTC

Runes have been marketed as a more efficient way to create new tokens on the Bitcoin network when compared to the BRC-20 token standard — an Ordinals-based method for creating Bitcoin-based tokens.

Much like BRC-20s, Runes leverages the Bitcoin network and pays fees in Bitcoin to create new tokens. However, the similarities end there. 

The major difference between Runes and BRC-20s is that Runes utilizes an Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model to “etch” new tokens on Bitcoin. This stands in contrast to the “inscription” account model used by Ordinals, according to a protocol explainer from Rodarmor. 

In an April 20 post to X, pseudonymous Ordinals developer Leonidas claimed that the fees on the five most recent Bitcoin blocks following block 840,000 had surpassed the Coinbase reward.

“Runes degens have single-handedly offset the drop in miner rewards from the halving,” wrote Leonidas.

A total of $3.82 million in fees — excluding miner subsidies — was spent on the five blocks following the halving, according to aggregated data from mempool.space.

Outside of the battle to inscribe one of the first Runes, Bitcoin mining pools were also vying to grab what’s known as an “epic” satoshi. 

An epic satoshi is the very first satoshi — the smallest possible denomination of Bitcoin — mined on the halving block.

On April 15, Trevor Owens, the managing partner at The Bitcoin Frontier Fund wrote that he was willing to put up a bounty of between $500,000 and $1 million to “buy out” the first Bitcoin block.

Users spent $2.4 million in fees to inscribe runes and rare satoshis on the first halving block

 

Crypto X Reacts To The Bitcoin Halving

Amid the chaos, pseudonymous trader Hsaka posted a meme that summed up much of the wider sentiment towards the halving event — a brief moment of celebration followed by an immediate return to business as usual.

Outspoken Bitcoin critic Peter Schiff also took to X to throw some shade at Bitcoiners amid the halving event.

“I think halving is an appropriate name for what’s happening as soon Bitcoin HODLers will experience a halving of their net worths,” said Schiff.

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