Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Bitcoin’s Blockchain Growth Accelerates With Trend of Ordinal Inscriptions

by Berkeley Lovelace

Bitcoin’s Blockchain Growth Accelerates With Trend of Ordinal Inscriptions

The Bitcoin blockchain has 40.49 gigabytes (GB) to go until it reaches half a terabyte (TB), and with the recent trend of Ordinal inscriptions, it’s likely to get there faster. The average block size reached a high of 2.52 megabytes (MB) on Feb. 12, 2023, but block sizes have subsided and dropped to an average of 1.634 MB by Feb. 27. Still, the blockchain grew at a rate of 0.288 GB per day, compared to the previous rate of 0.173 GB per day recorded before the Ordinal inscription trend began.

The Impact of Ordinal Inscriptions on Bitcoin’s Network Metrics

Ordinal inscriptions started on Dec. 16, 2022, but didn’t really gain steam until Feb. 2, 2023. That was the day a 3.96 MB block was mined, and since then, 214,028 inscriptions have been added to the Bitcoin blockchain. The trend of Ordinal inscriptions between Feb. 2 and Feb. 27, or roughly 26 days, increased Bitcoin’s average network fee and average block size. Both network fee and block size metrics peaked around Feb. 12 and have subsided since then. During that span of time, data shows that the size of Bitcoin’s chain grew at a faster rate.

Bitcoin's Blockchain Growth Accelerates With Trend of Ordinal Inscriptions

For instance, statistics show that the Bitcoin blockchain was 459.51 GB in size on Feb. 27, 2023. Metrics show that during the 26-day span, the blockchain grew by 7.77 GB, or roughly 0.288 GB per day. The spike can be seen visually by looking at a chart of Bitcoin’s blockchain size from Feb. 2 until today. However, before Ordinal inscriptions started trending and larger blocks were mined more regularly, the blockchain’s growth was much slower. It took 45 days, from Dec. 19, 2022, to Feb. 2, 2023, to reach 7.77 GB.

At that time, over the 45-day span, the Bitcoin blockchain grew at a rate of 0.173 GB per day. Bitcoin’s average fee on Feb. 28, 2023, is 0.000077 BTC, or $1.82, per transaction, while the median fee is 0.000033 BTC, or $0.777, per transaction. Transactions are also being confirmed at rates ranging from 2 satoshis per byte, or $0.07, to 19 satoshis per byte, or $0.62, per transaction. The revenue miners accrued per day amid the Ordinal inscription trend peaked on Feb. 16, 2023, at $28.21 million (block subsidy + fees), compared to today’s $21.36 million. Still, bitcoin (BTC) miners are earning more revenue than they were on Dec. 24, 2022.

It will be interesting to see how another month of Ordinal inscriptions affects metrics such as average block sizes, median and average fees, and the overall growth of the Bitcoin blockchain. Though the hype around Ordinal inscriptions has subsided, these metrics remain elevated compared to before Feb. 2 and the subsequent influx of inscriptions. Average and median fees are still higher than before the Ordinal trend, and average block sizes remain above the 1.60 MB threshold after remaining below it for months.

What are your thoughts on the impact of Ordinal inscriptions on the growth of the Bitcoin blockchain? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.