The Ethereum network is showing high has fee requirements in order to pass transactions faster. This recalls the moment when CryptoKitties was at its peak, consuming more than 20% of gas fees. The current congestion has been recurring for the past few days, with reports starting as far back as the end of May.
In an additional security warning, Ethereum users are urged to update their Parity clients to the latest version, to avoid a bug that causes a break of consensus with other nodes.
This time, explanations range from a concerted attack aimed at discrediting Ethereum, to high activity related to sought-after ICOs.
According to Etherscan statistics, the Ethereum network has more than 26,000 pending transactions for tokens, smart contracts, and Ethereum itself. This is much larger compared to the handful of pending transactions on the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin has also seen congestion in the past, but for very different reasons.
The worst Ethereum congestion was seen from December to February. In the meantime, the Ethereum network increased its hashing power, but that was not enough to verify transactions, which also require nodes.
Users are urged to either delay transactions, or be careful to check the gas fees. Etherscan shows that a transaction can run expensive during times of high network load, such as this transaction costing upward of $1,200. In some cases, even a failed transaction can be extremely expensive.
The network congestion comes at a time when Vitalik Buterin is promising solutions for scaling Ethereum, which seems to be reaching its limits. Sharding and staking are the tools required to make transactions move to a much higher range, potentially getting closer to the scale of VISA. The recent congestion is affecting several ICOs, which would require a higher gas fee for successful participation.
The network congestion is not affecting the Ethereum market price for now, which has grown by around 7% in the past week to $611.07, gradually abandoning the recent lows.