Ethereum
$268.05 0.62%
ETH · 23w

100,000 Transactions Stuck As Tether Clogs Ethereum

The ethereum network has become congested with users complaining transactions are taking hours or in some rare instances, even days.

“I’ve 3 pending transactions, pending for more than 10 hours, I’ve selected the “slow” mode on metamask, but 10 hours is really slow, right?” – says one etherean.

The culprit appears to be Tether. They’re now taking about 50% of the entire network capacity, with USDT handling $18 billion in unfiltered trading volumes, far more than eth’s $6 billion.

The ERC-20 token is used for arbitrage between global and local exchanges as well as to bypass national or international restrictions say on crypto trading, capital controls, and so on.

According to Etherscan data, Tether has performed 100,000 on-chain transactions in the past 7 hours.

Tether clogging eth, Sep 2019

Etherscan couldn’t go any further than the last 100,000 transactions. There are some 5.4 million in total, but we can’t see when they began.

The move of USDT from the bitcoin based Omni layer to eth gained momentum in July when Binance suddenly announced they will accept only the ERC20 USDT and not the Omni ones.

That was months ago, however, so what has suddenly changed to clog the network isn’t too clear, but calls are rising for the eth version of the blocksize, the gas limit, to be increased.

Ethereum blocksize, Sep 2019

We can see the ethereum blocksize is about 20,000 bytes. As blocks are around every 15 seconds, that translates to 80kb a minute or 800kb every ten minutes, quite a bit less than bitcoin’s hard limit of 1MB.

Bitcoin has sort of increased its hard limit to 2MB, while in eth there is no hard limit at all, but a soft limit measured by an abstract unit called gas, or the number of calculations.

A token transaction can take a lot more gas than a simple transaction. Likewise the nature of a smart contract transaction may determine a lot more gas is required than for a simple transaction.

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