The Ethereum network has experienced congestion leading to the price of Gas to shoot up, on some occasions skyrocketing more than five times.
It’s not the first time the platform is experiencing this, challenges of poor scalability having been long established.
The latest congestion comes as the network prepares to implement upgrades that will see it greatly improve its scalability and consequently issues of congestion.
As recently as May, Ethereum’s network saw a spike in transactions, with an unprecedented increase in dApp usage. The huge transaction volumes were necessitated by a number of gaming applications.
By then, dApps consumed over 14 million in GAS in just 24 hours. The price of Gas doubled to hit $0.02.
It rekindled memories of the near network halt as a result of Cryptokitties last December.
One reason for the latest network congestion
According to a thread on r/ethereum, the latest congestion has been attributed to voting for the purposes of getting a coin listed on an exchange.
It has generated a huge amount of transactions, spiking pending tx to about 55,476 on July 2.
FCoin decentralized exchange has been identified as the genesis of the latest network clog. Users were to transfer a minimum amount of the Fcoin token to the exchange.
The problem is that the vote wasn’t weighed in terms of the total amount or specific value of the tokens. It was based on the volume of unique addresses that manage to send the tokens.
That partially explains why the Ethereum network experienced heavy congestion over the last 2 days.
The Ethereum network saw gas prices rise to a maximum of 0.00004 Ether, up from 0.00002 a couple of days earlier. The last time the prices were this high was in January according to this chart on Etherscan.io.
The network overload has resulted in huge delays. Transactions on the Ethereum network have been taking longer to confirm due to the congestion resulting in unexpected delays.
It has been observed that transactions were taking up to several hours before confirmation.
Blocktrades, a gaming platform, observed the same stating that using the default fee for gas made things worse.
In a post on Steemit, it said “We’ve doubled the gas fee our wallet would pay by default to see if this improves the situation”
Binance increases the Gas price on withdrawals:
The congestion has also seen Binance, one of the largest exchanges increase gas prices for withdrawals.
In a tweet on its official account, the crypto exchange indicated that it would now cost about 180 Gwei. This is an equivalent of 0.00000018 Ether for every withdrawal.
Though it increased gas prices for withdrawals, the exchange maintained that withdrawal fees would remain the same for the time being
The top exchange posted the following message
The overload affected many other users who have reported on delays as well as increased gas prices. For example, a user on Reddit u/rainbowrobin said:
“My company was publishing small (64 characters) bits of data to Ethereum, as an irrefutable publication channel. A working gas price was 1 Gwei when we started. Now it’s ~100-200”
Others have taken lightly, choosing to see it as a sign that the network was in use and that people were willing to pay high prices to use it.
TTPrograms: “I love seeing the network overloaded – that means people are using it for things of sufficient value that they’re willing to pay the fees for what they’re doing”
The current network issues will serve to heighten the anticipation surrounding the release of Casper and Sharding.
It is hoped when the two upgrades are implemented, such congestions will be a thing of the past.