Costly Mistake Results in a Record-Breaking $3 Million Bitcoin Transaction Fee
by Oskar Trotman
An anonymous Bitcoin sender achieved a historical record on Thursday, November 23, after paying $3 million in transaction fees to transfer 139.42 BTC, which is equal to $5.1 million. The sender only managed to transfer 55.77 BTC, and the remaining 83.64 BTC was charged as a transaction fee, effectively paying more than the transfer amount.
According to data from Bitinfocharts, miner AntPool processed the transfer in block 818087. However, it’s more than likely that this record-breaking fee results from a mistake on the sender’s part. Although it’s true that in peak periods on the Bitcoin network, when multiple transactions are processed, the prices can rise, but not to the level seen yesterday, and never more than the sent amount.
This incident is not the first case of a Bitcoin owner overpaying for a transaction. Another case reported in September resulted in a more modest fee of $500,000 for a transfer of $2,000. In that instance, the miner F2Pool was willing to refund the overpaid amount. Transaction fees have increased in recent months, but overpaying by 120,528 times has not been seen until now. The standard transfer cost on the Bitcoin network in November is $14.
Result of Inexperience or Something Else
This astronomical fee probably resulted from a mistake, but so far, it’s unclear if the sender made a mistake or if it was an issue with the network at the time of the transactions. What is known for certain is that the sender opened the crypto wallet shortly before performing the transactions, while the recipient activated their wallet in the second half of October.
The balance on the wallet before the transfer was 139 BTC, and the wallet sent 55 BTC for the cost of 83 BTC in fees. The block accumulated 91.466 BTC in rewards with 6.25 BTC as block subsidy and the remaining 85.216 BTC as a transfer fee. Curiously, an unsuccessful attempt to fork the blockchain at block height 818087 occurred, but the block status changed to “Stale” but was replaced with an identical copy confirming its validity.
Further analysis is necessary to get to the bottom of this situation. Charging hefty fees isn’t something Bitcoin owners want to see, especially if they occur due to a glitch in the network. However, at the moment, all data point to an individual error, not a wider issue.
Rising Fees Can Slow Down Future Growth
At the time of writing, Antpool, a Bitcoin mining pool owned by BITMAIN, has not responded with a statement about any possibility to return the overcharged funds. There was a lot of community backlash over F2Pool willingness to refund the overpayment in September.
Most miners believe the onus is on the sender to be careful when setting up a transaction. The network’s protocol allows users to prioritize transactions and manually adjust the amount they are willing to pay a miner to expedite the outgoing transaction to a new valid block.
It’s very easy for eager new users to overlook the settings and overpay for a BTC transaction. However, fees continue to grow, and there is a concern that this trend can hamper everyday transactions. The all-time high fee was reached in 2021 with $63 on average per transaction.