Testing Ethereum's 'Ultra Sound Money' Thesis with the New Low-Fee Regime
As indicated in a recent report from IntoTheBlock, a crypto data analytics company, Ethereum's revenue generated from transaction fees has dipped to its lowest point since April 2020. This marks a notable shift, signifying a new era for Ethereum characterized by a decrease in the network's earnings from fees. The report underscores that this transition is now subjecting Ethereum's native cryptocurrency, ether (ETH), and its narrative of possessing a deflationary supply to a critical examination.
When examining the figures, it's evident that Ethereum's fee-generated revenue has experienced a sharp decline, currently resting at a staggering 90% below its peak in May. In the midst of the recent bullish market, Ethereum users were vocal about the exorbitant gas fees and network congestion, primarily attributable to the surge in activities related to non-fungible token (NFT) trading and decentralized finance (DeFi) yield farming. However, this scenario has undergone a significant shift due to the decline in cryptocurrency prices, resulting in a reduced demand for NFTs and a substantial contraction in DeFi activity.
The implementation of layer 2 solutions, aimed at enhancing Ethereum's scalability and overall capacity, has also played a pivotal role in driving down fees. While this advancement is advantageous for Ethereum users, allowing them to conduct transactions at a lower cost, it does exert an influence on the supply dynamics of ETH. The decreased fee revenue places the concept of ETH being considered 'ultra sound money' under scrutiny, as articulated by Lucas Outumuro, the head of research at IntoTheBlock.
Over the past month, the token supply of ETH has surged by around 33,500 ETH, equivalent to an approximate value of $52 million. This surge is attributed to reduced activity on the blockchain, according to the available data.
Outumuro foresees that the revenue generated from network fees is likely to persist at a low level, as speculative activity wanes and users increasingly adopt layer 2 solutions. He emphasizes that NFT trading, which played a significant role in token burns during 2021 and early 2022, only accounted for 8% of burns last week, underscoring the evolving landscape.
In conclusion, the shift towards a low-fee regime represents a substantial transformation for Ethereum. It entails a trade-off between substantial revenues and a deflationary supply, all in pursuit of the potential to draw a broader user base through the adoption of layer 2 solutions, as observed by Outumuro.
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