Over the recent weekend, the blockchain world experienced a significant surge in network transaction fees across various blockchains, driven largely by the frenzy around Ordinals inscriptions. This trend, primarily observed on the Bitcoin network, has extended to Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chains, resulting in record-high gas expenditures.
On December 16, the amount of gas spent on EVM chain inscriptions reached an all-time high of $8.3 million, as reported by Dune Analytics. The Avalanche network witnessed the highest gas expenditure, with more than $5.6 million spent daily. Arbitrum One followed closely, with $2.1 million in gas fees for inscriptions.
In the past 24 hours, the impact of these inscriptions has been notable, with Avalanche dedicating 58% of its network gas to EVM inscriptions. Similarly, zkSync Era saw 48% of its transaction fees toward these inscriptions. Additionally, the BNB Chain allocated 73% of its transactions to inscriptions during this period.
The volume of inscriptions on the Arbitrum One network even led to a 78-minute outage on December 15.
Like Ordinals on the Bitcoin network, EVM inscriptions embed information in transaction call data to create unique on-chain non-fungible assets. The Bitcoin network, too, has experienced a spike in Ordinals inscriptions, increasing demand for block space and driving up transaction fees. Currently, Bitcoin’s mempool has almost 280,000 unconfirmed transactions, leading to fees as high as $37, hindering the network’s typical use for peer-to-peer digital transactions.
Adam Back, a Bitcoin pioneer and cryptographer, commented that while Ordinals cannot be halted, the resulting high fees will encourage the adoption of layer-2 solutions and drive innovation.
NFT and Ordinals expert “Leonidas” highlighted the significant market activity around these inscriptions, noting that a single collection outperformed major NFT collections like CryptoPunks, BAYC, and others in 24-hour volume. The Bitcoin Frogs ordinals collection reportedly reached a market cap of $182 million.
Cryptoslam data showed a spike to $4.8 million in secondary sales of this collection on December 17. This inscription surge across Bitcoin and EVM chains reflects a growing interest in unique digital assets. However, it also presents challenges regarding network congestion and increased transaction costs.