Bitcoin User's Costly Transaction Sets Record for Highest Network Fee Ever Paid
An unprecedented Bitcoin transaction fee hits record, with user pays an astonishing $3.1 million for a transfer.
An unidentified Bitcoin user made a costly error on November 23, transferring 139 BTC ($5,198,720.84) but paying an exorbitant transaction fee of 83.6 BTC ($3,136,058), the highest ever recorded in dollar terms and the eighth largest in Bitcoin’s history. The recipient received less than half of the transfer, with 55.7 BTC reaching the intended address.
The transaction, which was processed at Bitcoin block 818087, was sent from one wallet address to another. The fee was overpaid by a staggering 119,980x, based on the block’s cost at the time, according to mempool.space.
In the Bitcoin network, users can voluntarily add a fee to their transactions to expedite processing. The miner responsible for constructing the next block in the network is incentivized to include the transaction in the block’s limited storage space, earning the attached fee as a reward.
The sender may have been unaware that “replace by fee” (RBF) orders, a feature in Bitcoin that allows an unconfirmed transaction to be replaced with another with a higher fee, cannot be cancelled. The sender appears to have attempted to cancel the transaction multiple times, each time adding more to the fee. The last replacement attempt alone added an unnecessary 12.54 BTC to the transaction fee.
The recipient of the block’s fee was Antpool, one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools based in Asia, responsible for 29.4% of Bitcoin’s total hash rate over the past three days. Normally, Antpool averages 1.6 BTC in transaction fees per block.
Mining pool operators typically share profits from block rewards and fees with their miners, depending on their specific contractual arrangements. However, in a similar case in September, a large accidental fee sent by Paxos was returned by F2Pool. It is speculated that Antpool may also return the fee once contacted by the transactor.