Sharp Decline in Bitcoin Rune Etchings Hits Miner Revenues

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The Bitcoin network witnessed a steep 99% drop in daily Rune etchings, plummeting to just 157 Runes on Monday from a high of 14,700 in late April, as reported by Dune Analytics. This significant decline in the activity of the Rune etchings, which are part of a fungible token protocol, has dramatically decreased transaction fee income for Bitcoin miners.

On April 26, the network recorded a peak of 23,061 Rune etchings, but the recent slump has resulted in transaction fees from these etchings dropping to a mere US$3,835 on Monday. Despite this downturn, Rune transactions have remained a dominant force in Bitcoin network activity to date, with over 91,200 Runes etched on the Bitcoin blockchain.

The Runes protocol was launched on April 20, initially providing a substantial boost to miners’ earnings by generating significant transaction fees. This was particularly beneficial following the fourth Bitcoin halving event, which reduced the block subsidy to 3.125 BTC but was offset by increased transaction volumes from Rune etchings.

Developed by Ordinals creator Casey Rodarmor, the Runes protocol aims to efficiently utilize block space for creating fungible tokens, adhering to Bitcoin’s unspent transaction output (UTXO) model, offering a more streamlined approach compared to BRC-20s. However, some Bitcoin core developers have expressed concerns, criticizing the Runes protocol for potentially exploiting vulnerabilities within the Bitcoin network.

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