Bitcoin’s Average Block Size Hits All-Time Highs

Because to the introduction of the nonfungible tokens (NFTs) protocol Ordinals in January 2023, the average size of a Bitcoin block has surpassed 2.5 megabytes (MB) for the first time since the cryptocurrency’s foundation in 2009. This marks a new all-time high for the cryptocurrency.

According to statistics obtained from, the size of Bitcoin blocks increased by more than 2 MB in the weeks after the debut of the Ordinals Protocol. This surge in block size can be traced back to the beginning of February 2023.

Software developer Casey Rodarmor introduced the Ordinals protocol in the month of January. This protocol makes it possible for users of the Bitcoin network to create “digital artifacts.” These may include JPEG photographs, PDF documents, as well as audio and video files.

In the documentation for Ordinals, Rodarmor explains that each of these digital objects may be inscribed to a single satoshi, which is one of the component parts of a Bitcoin. The value of one bitcoin is equal to 100,000,000 satoshis.

Individual satoshis have the ability to be imprinted with any kind of data, allowing for the creation of one-of-a-kind digital artifacts that are original to Bitcoin. These artifacts may be stored in bitcoin wallets and moved via bitcoin transactions. The permanence, immutability, security, and decentralization of inscriptions are on par with those of Bitcoin itself.

The Bitcoin community is split on the issue of whether or not it should be possible to engrave digital items into the blockchain, and the reasons both for and against the proposal provide plenty of material for reflection. The greater use of block space for the inscription of several Ordinals has emerged as one of the primary topics of discussion.

Since July 2021 and continuing until February 2023, the typical size of a Bitcoin block has ranged between 0.7 and 1.5 megabytes. The average size of a Bitcoin block topped 2 megabytes for the first time on February 5, and it is now hovering at around 2.2 megabytes at the time of this writing.

According to statistics obtained by Glassnode, the introduction of Bitcoin Ordinals has also resulted in the network reaching a new high of 44 million non-zero addresses.

The most recent issue of Glassnode’s newsletter mentions that Ordinals compete for block space demand despite the fact that they have not yet materially influenced network pricing.

The introduction of Ordinals was referred to as a “new and unique point in the history of Bitcoin” by Glassnode. This is because innovation may promote network activity even without the “classical transfer of currency volume for monetary objectives.”


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Bitcoin SegWit adoption lags among major exchanges: Glassnode

SegWit has come a long way since its first appearance during the 2015-2017 blocksize war. However, despite its relative success as a Bitcoin upgrade, crypto exchanges including Binance and Gemini are still not committed to using SegWit addresses for sending Bitcoin (BTC). 

Implemented in 2017, segregated witness (SegWit) is a soft fork upgrade that separates “witness” data from the base transaction. In an “explain like I’m five” kind of way, SegWit allows for a safer and faster Bitcoin, making scaling the network easier.

While most exchanges and individuals were quick to upgrade their infrastructure to take on SegWit, reaching the 50% mark for Bitcoin transactions in 2019, the largest exchange, Binance has been dragging its feet.

Glassnode’s report states that Binance “​​had trivial SegWit adoption rates of only 10% up until the end of 2021.” However, it has finally “made an earnest effort to push SegWit adoption near the end of 2021.” Its adoption rate is currently at 50%, paling in comparison to Coinbase and FTX at 100%.

Altogether, crypto exchanges consume roughly 40% of Bitcoin block space. Crucially, however, Coinbase and Binance make up the lion’s share of block space, responsible for “25% of consumed block space” last month. If leaders such as Binance, or large players such as Gemini fail to fully adopt SegWit, Bitcoin will struggle to reach its true scaling potential.

Tomer Strolight, editor in chief at Swan Bitcoin, illustrates the argument:

“The fee savings provided by SegWit (and also batching and Taproot) will inevitably lead to their near-universal use. These have succeeded already in vastly reducing congestion and lowering fees. Ironically, however, their success to date means that we may have to wait until fees become a problem again to give the late adopters the kick in pants they need to fully switch.”

Glassnode’s report also shares a more accurate measure for reading SegWit adoption, SegWit utilization. When applied to single entities, such as exchanges, it provides a more detailed picture.

Of the 18 major exchanges that Glassnode investigated, one-third are bona fide SegWit supporters at over 90% adoption levels. The second third–including Binance–are taking their best shot at adopting SegWit ranging from 50% to 80%, while the final six are still using Bitcoin addresses beginning with the number 1, rather than SegWit’s 3.

Related: 88% of all BTC transfers are overpaying transaction fees

Here is the graph detailing the exchange SegWit ranking:

It’s unlikely that the laggard exchanges will upgrade to Taproot, the most recent Bitcoin soft fork, any time soon. As Strolight points out, we might have to wait until fees rise before they wake up.