Welcome to This Week in Crypto, your go-to source for the latest developments in the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency. In this edition, we explore the surge in Bitcoin transaction fees reaching a six-month high as a wave of ordinal inscriptions congests the mempool. Additionally, we delve into the realm of Bitcoin ATMs, where El Salvador is integrating the Lightning Network, enhancing speed and reducing fees. Shifting gears, we turn our attention to gaming giant Ubisoft, which is making significant strides in blockchain technology, partnering with Immutable to create an innovative Web3 gaming experience. Join us as we unpack the week’s top stories!
Bitcoin Transaction Fees Hit Six-Month High Amidst NFT Resurgence
Bitcoin transaction fees have recently hit a six-month peak, reaching a high of $15 per transaction late last week. This surge is attributed to a resurgence in the popularity of Ordinals, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) that store data on the Bitcoin blockchain. The increased on-chain activity, reminiscent of earlier this year, is clogging the Bitcoin mempool with nearly 1 million ordinal “mints” in the past seven days, leading to over 190,000 unconfirmed transactions at the time of writing. Bitcoin miners are capitalizing on the situation, with 8.5% of their revenue on November 6 coming from elevated fee rates—the highest proportion since early June.
Simultaneously, Binance’s listing of Ordinals’ ORDI tokens has sparked renewed interest, propelling the token’s value up by over 290% in the last seven days. This listing has reignited the daily average of Bitcoin inscriptions to over 150,000, resulting in approximately 39 million inscriptions and generating 2,346 BTC (around $85.45 million) in transaction fees.
While these heightened transaction fees present challenges for Bitcoin traders, especially with over 190,000 transactions currently in backlog, miners stand to benefit significantly, particularly as they brace for the impending reward cut associated with Bitcoin’s next halving. This combined influence of ordinal inscriptions and market dynamics has propelled Bitcoin to the second-largest blockchain by NFT sales volume, trailing only Ethereum, according to CryptoSlam data.
Bitcoin ATMs in El Salvador Upgrade to Use Bitcoin’s Lightning Network
Bitcoin ATM operator Chivo is set to integrate the Lightning Network into 100 machines in El Salvador by the end of next month. The move aims to enhance transaction speed and reduce fees, as only 3.7% of global crypto ATMs currently support Lightning Network technology, according to Coin ATM Radar. Currently, El Salvador is home to 215 crypto ATMs.
The Lightning Network, designed to facilitate swift and cost-effective Bitcoin transactions, was initially slated to debut in El Salvador in 2021 through payments app Strike. However, the project was abandoned, and Strike subsequently relocated its headquarters to El Salvador. The Lightning Network integration will enable Salvadorans to conduct smaller, more frequent transactions while saving money on transaction fees. The government’s Chivo brand of Bitcoin ATMs are scattered throughout El Salvador and are crucial for buying and selling Bitcoin, which supports the country’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021.
Gaming Giant Ubisoft Ventures into Blockchain with Immutable Collaboration
Ubisoft is embarking on a new blockchain gaming venture in collaboration with crypto infrastructure firm Immutable. Together, they aim to create an innovative “Web3 gaming experience” utilizing Immutable’s blockchain technology. This technology has been previously employed in NFT integrations for games like Gods Unchained and Guild of Guardians. The partnership seeks to seamlessly integrate crypto elements into gaming projects, promising a gaming experience where players can fully immerse themselves.
While details about the specific project remain undisclosed, it could encompass the development of a new blockchain game, integration of Immutable’s technology into an existing Ubisoft game, or even the exploration of gamified experiences, such as a “collect to earn” initiative where players can earn NFTs through the gaming interface.
Ubisoft’s strategic push into blockchain and NFTs has been evident throughout the year, with announcements in July revealing the development of the tactical RPG Champions Tactics on the Oasys blockchain and the company’s role as a network validator for the Cronos blockchain. The collaboration with Immutable marks another significant step in Ubisoft’s exploration of the evolving intersection between gaming and blockchain technology.