The number of daily transactions on the Ethereum network is approaching all-time high levels amid the rise of stablecoins and DeFi tokens — and with some miners reportedly spamming the network.
Daily usage on Ethereum spiked recently to 1.1 million transactions — a total not seen since its all-time high of 1.35 million daily transactions in early 2018.
The spike comes alongside some unusual behaviour by miners. According to Trustnodes, the Ethermine mining pool performed more than 13,000 transactions within 24 hours that were 0.05 ETH —roughly $11.70 — or less. Miners like SparkPool and Nanopool were also guilty of flooding the network with small transactions, albeit in shorter bursts.
Together these mining pools have been issuing tens of thousands of small transactions per day adding up to millions of additional transactions.
The last time a serious attempt was made to spam Ethereum was in September 2016, when denial-of-service attacks targeted the network with excessive transactions, ultimately forcing it to execute a hard fork designed to increase the gas cost.
Crypto holders on Reddit were quick to speculate on the developments. User Njoiyt said the mining pools might be “purposely clogging the network to increase fees paid to themselves”.
USDT and DeFi doing their part
Cointelegraph has reported that stablecoins like Tether (USDT) use the most gas on the network, with activity from DeFi Dapps such as Uniswap and Kyber Network coming in next.
Last week, Ethereum miners voted to increase the gas limit on the network from 10 to 12.5 million, which would allow for a greater number of transactions to be processed a second, effectively reducing congestion.
Though the expansion has already started with the block gas limit at more than 11.5 million as of this writing, it appears it was not enough to overcome the increased demand on the network.
Network congestion slows money laundering
One unexpected benefit of increased congestion is thwarting scammers. Cointelegraph reported earlier today that network congestion had effectively prevented some of the $2.9 billion stolen using South Korean wallet provider and exchange PlusToken from being laundered quickly.