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Tether Clogging Ethereum, Taking Up 50% of Network as Transactions Slow to a Crawl

TL;DR: “Etherscan couldn’t go any further than the last 100,000 transactions. There are some 5.4 million in total, but we can’t see when they began,” Trustnodes reported. Analysts suspect stablecoin tether’s (USDT) shift from Omni onto Ethereum is causing backlogs, as USDT transactions are “taking about 50% of the entire network capacity.” Tether clogging ethereum was somewhat expected, and some enthusiasts are insisting this is a good problem to have. 

Tether Clogging Ethereum

And there appears to be no let-up, as the company behind USDT insisted, “In few hours Tether will coordinate with a 3rd party to perform a chain swap (conversion from Omni to ERC20 protocol) for 300M USDT. Tether total supply will not change during this process.” A few BTC advocates have accused the stablecoin of “bloating” that network, and so they believe it a plus tether is moving to Ethereum.

The transition so far has been clunky. “I’ve 3 pending transactions, pending for more than 10 hours, I’ve selected the ‘slow’ mode on metamask, but 10 hours is really slow, right?” an Ethereum user posted to Reddit. Responses ranged from sympathy to attempting a change of perspective, such as “a lot of projects are using it to make a lot of transactions,” and, “Me: not enough people use ethereum. Also me: too many people use ethereum.”

Indeed The ETH Gas Station shows gas leaders over the last 30 days, and tether ranks first with near double the USD value from its second-closest rival, gambling platform Fair Win. “Tether has performed 100,000 on-chain transactions in the past 7 hours,” Trustnodes stressed, citing Etherscan. Binance apparently is among the catalysts prompting USDT to move off Omni, preferring the ERC20 version — and considering the volume and heft the exchange wields in the space, Tether got the message.

It’s still somewhat of a mystery as to why the clog is happening to this degree, but analysts have further concluded tokens and smart contracts are often bulkier than straight-up transactions of ETH, requiring more gas. Calls within the Ethereum community are urging a lift of the 8 million gas limit, in place since the beginning of 2018, to accommodate new USDT volume. Recently, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin publicly mused about considering Bitcoin Cash as a data availability layer in order to better scale.

DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH. 

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