According to Vitalik Buterin, the recent attacks on the Ethereum network, which overwhelmed it with token transactions, may have cost up to $15 million, or roughly the price of 75 “lambos”, the coveted car brand of crypto enthusiasts. At one point, a single smart contract moving tokens around took up to 40% of gas, out of the large, but limited capacity of the Ethereum network.
The Ethereum network may be handling small-scale users beautifully, but the world of distributed projects has enough actors well padded with Ethereum to sway the market. Buying up gas is, indeed, a free market, but it could be easily turned into an oligarchy.
Theories about the network congestion include a direct involvement of EOS, a still unfounded allegation based on tangential evidence and the presence of EOS tokens in some of the wallets involved in the spam transactions. Other explanations include the creation of fake volume for tokens, in a recent bout of new exchanges aiming to boost their visibility. The occasionally occurring airdrops also add to the network load.
At the moment, the Ethereum congestion has resolved, though the price of gas for the fastest transactions has inched up a bit. The biggest gas guzzler at the moment is a token distribution contract for Blue Whale Token (BWX), taking up 14% of gas. But even that level of load, including the two largest decentralized exchanges, cannot be compared to what looks like spam transactions.
Days of heavy load on the Ethereum network has affected the work of exchanges, with Huobi Pro suspending token withdrawals over the weekend. CryptoKitties, the collectible game, once again increased fees temporarily last weekend.
As for distributed apps, none of the existing ones overloads the network, according to data from dApp Radar. The biggest exchange, IDEX, had only 2,174 users in the past day, and other distributed apps log only a few hundred users at most. Projects like Augur see about 109 users in 24 hours, and small-scale dApps are hardly used.
ETH market prices have inched up in the past days, to $475.09, after dropping again toward $430 in the latest downturn.