Arbitrum pauses Odyssey after gas fees spike

Quick Take

  • The Arbitrum Layer 2 solution became more expensive to use than usual.
  • The higher-than-expected fees resulted from temporary congestion on Arbitrum.

Fees on Ethereum's Layer 2 scaling solution Arbitrum One rose to unusual levels for several hours on Wednesday. 

The average transaction fees to perform a token swap on Arbitrum spiked to nearly $5, per on-chain data, many times more than normal. The higher-than-expected fees on Arbitrum were caused by increased user activity. 

The heightened activity has, in part, resulted from an incentivized campaign called Arbitrum Odyssey, a 2-month promotional campaign. In this, Offchain Labs, Arbitrum's development firm, promised NFT rewards to users who interact with various Arbitrum-based DeFi protocols. Airdrop farmers — those who try to be qualified for future airdrops — are speculating that these NFTs will later give access to a token airdrop, but this is by no means guaranteed.

The Arbitrum team has now paused Odyssey to manage increased congestion and bring down the gas fees. In a Twitter post, the team said that Odyssey will remain halted until Arbitrum deploys Nitro, a new update that will increase its computational capacity. The fees on Arbitrum have since come back down and are now sitting at around the $2 mark at the time of this article.

Per its official blockchain explorer called Arbiscan, the Layer 2 network experienced a 45% increase in daily transactions in the last few weeks. The network also touched a record high of more than 287,000 transactions on Monday.


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Arbitrum is a Layer 2 solution that leverages a technology called Optimistic Rollups. This results in an off-chain computation network that lets it achieve faster and cheaper transactions while still deriving security from the main Ethereum blockchain.

With over $2 billion in total value locked, Arbitrum leads the Layer 2 market ahead of others like Optimism, Boba and Metis, that all rely on the same scaling technology. 

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that token swap fees on Arbitrum were higher than the Ethereum mainnet. In reality, there was a bug in the CryptoStats fee adapter that reported incorrect data. The swap fees on Arbitrum never actually rose higher than Ethereum, according to David Mihal, a software engineer at CryptoStats. 

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Vishal Chawla is The Block’s crypto ecosystems editor and has spent over six years covering tech protocols, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Vishal likes to delve deep into blockchain intricacies to ensure readers are well-informed about the continuously evolving crypto landscape. He is also a staunch advocate for rigorous security practices in the space. Before joining The Block, Vishal held positions at IDG ComputerWorld, CIO, and Crypto Briefing. He can be reached on Twitter at @vishal4c and via email at [email protected]