Ethereum's high gas fees see users flock to EVM-compatible chains

Quick Take

  • EVM-compatible chains, including BNB Chain and Polygon, set a fresh record in users last week.
  • Ethereum’s consistently high fees are the main reason, according to The Block Research’s Kevin Peng.

Usage of Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible blockchains hit a new all-time high last week, thanks to consistently high gas fees on Ethereum.

Daily new unique addresses of EVM-compatible blockchains, including BNB Chain, Polygon and Avalanche, peaked at 6.77 million on April 25, according to The Block's Data Dashboard. The previous record was 6.74 million in 2021.

"Ethereum gas fees are up significantly since the start of the year, leading to growth in EVM-compatible chains," said Kevin Peng, research analyst at The Block. "EVM-compatible chains provide a consistent experience for users and developers familiar with Ethereum. Growth in these chains can be a proxy for interest in an Ethereum-like user experience on-chain."

Average Ethereum transaction fees, known as gas fees, have increased by over 250% since the beginning of the year to around $9 per transaction from about $2.50 per transaction in December, according to The Block's Data Dashboard.

As The Block reported recently, a surge in memecoins trading has led to increased usage of Ethereum-based decentralized exchanges, adding to the upward pressure on gas fees.

BNB Chain and Polygon leading 

EVM-compatible chains have lower transaction costs than Ethereum while benefiting from the security and network effects of the larger Ethereum ecosystem. BNB Chain and Polygon, in particular, saw increased usage last week due to their growing ecosystems, according to The Block's Data Dashboard.


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"This surge is driven by new contracts created on BNB Chain. In many cases, projects implement solutions such as gasless, meta transactions, relayer contracts etc., all with the purpose of optimizing gas fees, and sometimes improving the end-user experience. In such a case, we would see new contracts being created specifically for minting, claiming etc. — and it is these new contracts that have led to this spike," Arnaud Bauer, solution architect at BNB Chain, told The Block.

"Some instances that we saw this time were from 1inch, CyberConnect and XEN-related contracts being the bulk of it," Bauer added.

Ethereum Layer 2s growing too

Ethereum Layer 2 networks, especially Optimism and Arbitrum, have also grown in usage this year. Daily new unique addresses on both optimistic rollups-based chains have increased since the start of the year, according to The Block's Data Dashboard.

© 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

Yogita Khatri is a senior reporter at The Block, covering all things crypto. As one of the earliest team members, Yogita has played a pivotal role in breaking numerous stories, exclusives and scoops. With nearly 3,000 articles under her belt, Yogita holds the records as The Block's most-published and most-read author of all time. Prior to joining The Block, Yogita worked at crypto publication CoinDesk and The Economic Times, where she wrote on personal finance. To contact her, email: [email protected]. For her latest work, follow her on X @Yogita_Khatri5.


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