'Boring' Bitcoin Market Sends Miners' Fee Earnings to 3-Month Low

Bitcoin's transaction activity has cooled amid the recent lull in price action – and that's hurting miners' earnings.

Oct 19, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:11 a.m. UTC

Bitcoin's (BTC) on-chain transaction activity has cooled amid the recent lull in price action, and that's hurting miners' earnings.

  • The cryptocurrency's blockchain processed 231,437 transactions on Oct. 18, the lowest since May 24, according to data provided by blockchain analytics firm Glassnode.
  • That means the daily transaction count was down nearly 40% from a peak of 382,408 observed on July 1.
  • With network processing far fewer transactions currently, the percentage of miners' revenue derived from fees also dropped to a three-month low of 3.49% over the weekend.
  • Last week, CoinDesk reported bitcoin's hashrate had hit a new high as a record amount of computing power was applied to mining on the network.
  • The slide in the tally of transactions is the result of the cryptocurrency's low-volatility trading of late, and may have bullish implications for price, according to analysts.

Bitcoin transaction count and percentage of miner revenue from fees

  • "Boring price action and low volatility tends to reduce the count of transactions to and from the exchanges," Willy Woo, on-chain analyst and author of The Bitcoin Forecast newsletter, told CoinDesk over Telegram.
  • Daily trading volume across major exchanges fell to $804 million on Sunday.
  • That's the lowest since July 19 and down 80% from the high of $4.4 billion registered on Sept. 3, according to data source Messari.
  • Exchanges typically liquidate bitcoin earned through trading fees to pay salaries and finance other expenses.
  • But with fewer transactions bringing in less in fees, Woo said, the exchange supply tends to drop, thus reducing selling pressure in the market.
  • Bitcoin is now trading in the range of $11,200 to $11,700 for the seventh straight day, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index.
  • Previously, the cryptocurrency had consolidated in a narrowing price range below $11,000 for four weeks before establishing a foothold above the psychological hurdle on Oct. 10.
  • Joel Kruger, a currency strategist at LMAX Digital, also said the transactions drop is reflective of sideways, directionless price action.
  • The combination of low volatility and pullback in transaction count often creates bullish conditions for prices, according to Woo.
  • At press time, bitcoin is changing hands near $11,480, down 0.38% on the day.
  • Prices are pushing at the upper bounds of a descending triangle on the 4-hour chart.

Bitcoin 4-hour chart

  • A breakout would imply a resumption of the rally from the Oct. 8 lows near $10,500 and shift the focus to $12,000.
  • The cryptocurrency has recently shown resilience to exchange-related issues and heightened uncertainty in traditional markets. As such, the odds appear stacked in favor of a breakout.
  • Disclosure: The author holds small positions in bitcoin and litecoin.

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