One of the things that drew people to bitcoin in its early days were the fast and cheap peer-to-peer transactions. Now, after months of high fees and long confirmation times, Bitcoin.org removed the “low transaction fees” from its homepage. The website no longer mentions “fast transactions” as well.
Now, the popular website created by bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto himself markets “peer-to-peer transactions,” “borderless payments,” and “fraud protection.” While the homepage has been changed, the introductory video still mentions low fees. The video has notably been seen over 5 million times and is used by many as a way to learn about the cryptocurrency.
Via Twitter, Bitcoin.org co-owner Cobra-Bitcoin expressed how hard the change was for him. In a tweet, he stated:
“I feel like I’ve lost a piece of my soul after merging this pull request. At some point we all forgot that Bitcoin was supposed to be decentralized money, and we became OK with outrageous fees and centralized mining, all to chase the $$$.”
On Bitcoin’s Github, Cobra added that the whole website mentions low transaction fees. As such, a lot of pages need to be changed and translated. He added that fees were “supposed to come down with Segwit anyway,” presumably implying something failed with the technology’s adoption.
Bitcoin’s high fees and slow confirmations times were, according to some, the reason for the ‘rise’ of most altcoins. This led the flagship cryptocurrency’s market share down to 34.7 percent at press time. According to Cryptocompare, one bitcoin is currently trading at $10,921, while its market cap is at $183.4 billion. As covered by Core Media, its volatility recently forced ransomware extortionists to denominate ransoms in fiat.
Escaping bitcoin’s high fees
In response to bitcoin’s current state, various users turned to altcoins. Cryptocurrencies like Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Monero, and Dash are all accepted by various organizations throughout the world, and saw adoption increase in the last few months.
Bitcoin itself already has a scaling solution in the works: the lightning network. However, although a few mainnet nodes already exist, the technology is still not yet ready to handle bitcoin’s users.
We don't recommend mainnet usage of *any* lightning implementation yet. It has become an unnecessary distraction for our devs.
We strongly advise people to wait until the lnd mainnet beta, which will have additional safety and security features. ✅
— Lightning⚡️ (@lightning) January 20, 2018
Nevertheless, SegWit is still helping the network. BitGo, a multi-signature security service provider, recently revealed a 2MB block has been mined on the bitcoin blockchain, all thanks to SegWit.
Bitcoin’s fees have recently dropped to about $1. The drop coincides with a drop in the number of transactions users have been making. What caused the drop is unknow, but as soon as word of low fees spread, the number of transactions quickly surged.