Bitcoin active users, fees and transactions had a wild ride in May amid memecoin mania

Quick Take

  • Bitcoin network data saw some notable developments last month, according to The Block Research. 

Thanks to memecoins with names like pepe, piza and ordi, Bitcoin saw a bit of a bumpy ride last month.

After sinking to its lowest level in nearly two years, the number of addresses active on the Bitcoin network rebounded dramatically last month as transactions skyrocketed to more than 16 million, according to The Block Research data.

That total was a 52% increase compared to April and more than double the number of transactions a year before in May 2022, The Block data shows.



The jump in transactions had the knock-on effect of driving fees skyward, causing them to hit an average of $16.08 on May 11, its highest level in roughly two years, according to The Block's Data Dashboard.

But then fees sank dramatically to little more than $4, a more than 70% decline.


The Block Research analyst Rebecca Stevens said the rapid rise in fees was unsustainable in the long-run.

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“If it costs more than $15 to transact on Bitcoin then people are going to stop transacting,” she said, adding that the frenzy surrounding Ordinals is to blame for wild swings in fees and transaction counts.

The majority of Ordinals — tokens created on the new token standard for Bitcoin called BRC-20 — have been memecoins. At one point, the total market value of BRC-20 memecoins surpassed $900 million.

Much like the data points aforementioned, the total market value for those tokens has since receded substantially to about $475 million, according to data from brc-20.io, which tracks BRC-20s.


© 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

RT Watson is a senior reporter at The Block who covers a wide array of topics including U.S.-based companies, blockchain gaming and NFTs. Formerly covered entertainment at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote about Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and the creator economy while focusing primarily on technological disruption across media. Previous to that he covered corporate, economic and political news in Brazil while at Bloomberg. RT has interviewed a diverse cast of characters including CEOs, media moguls, top influencers, politicians, blue-collar workers, drug traffickers and convicted criminals. Holds a master's degree in Digital Sociology.

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