Bitcoin's halving created the most valuable blocks in history, aside from one

Quick Take

  • The mining of the first block since the invention of Bitcoin Ordinals and the launch of the Rune protocol led to sky-high fees paid to miners for the first few blocks of the halving. 
  • The most valuable block in Bitcoin’s history, however, was the result of a mistake. 

Bitcoin's halving may have split the reward paid to miners in half, but a fierce battle for blockspace generated millions of dollars of payments to miners as the halving commenced. 

In fact, aside from an apparently accidental $3 million overpayment last November, all of Bitcoin's top 10 most valuable blocks have been mined since the halving, as first flagged by X user Clark Moody, in terms of U.S. dollar value at the time the block was mined. The first halving block captured $2.6 million in fees and block rewards alone, nearly taking the top slot, while others were worth $1.3-$2 million. 

Unlike that overpayment, which still stands as Bitcoin's most valuable block, the transactions since the halving were purposeful attempts to capture valuable blockspace.

For example, the miner of the first block at the halving would be entitled to one of four so-called "epic sats," or satoshis, units of Bitcoin inscribed with particular data. Epic sats, which are created once every halving, are one hundred times rarer than "rare sats," one of which sold for over $100,000 as part of a Sotheby's auction. This epic sat, being the first to be mined since the invention of the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol, may also be the first to be sold. 

Also at stake were Runes, a new protocol to inscribe data on the Bitcoin blockchain. The first Rune was deployed for $430,000 as an airdrop to holders of certain Ordinals collections, according to Arkham, while others also paid hundreds of thousands to deploy their own collections. 

All in all, 9 of the top 10 most valuable blocks in Bitcoin's history were mined directly following the halving. Previously, the runner-up for most valuable Bitcoin block was also the result of a $500,000 "fat finger" error by Paxos. However, that fee was returned by the mining pool that facilitated the transaction. 

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