Coinbase Pro No Longer Paying Ethereum Transaction Fees

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In Brief
  • Coinbase will no longer pay Ethereum transaction costs for its users.

  • The exchange cites rising network use as reason for the change.

  • Rising gas fees on Ethereum, if not addressed soon, risk a DeFi migration to other networks.

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Coinbase Pro has announced that it will no longer pay Ethereum gas fees for its users. The change comes as transaction fees on the network continue to increase.

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Previously, the cryptocurrency exchange had paid Ethereum fees on behalf of its customers. The change in fee policy comes into effect from Thursday, 17 Sept.

Rising Gas Prices Prompt Coinbase Policy Change

Coinbase announced the change via Twitter. In a thread, it stated that increased usage on the Ethereum blockchain had caused it to, “pass along network fees directly to our customers.”

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Coinbase also reminded users that transfers between Coinbase wallets would remain free. It added that customers could also hold funds at the exchange free of charge.

Although allowing Coinbase custody of funds would mean users avoid paying gas fees, it would also expose them to the risks associated with centralized storage, thus removing the permissionless nature of blockchains.

The explosion of interest in decentralized finance (DeFi) has seen Ethereum usage skyrocket. With many more transactions competing for the same finite block space, gas prices have skyrocketed.

Ethgasstation.info shows that the decentralized exchange Uniswap is currently the largest consumer of gas on the network. Transactions involving the platform accounted for $12.7 million in fees over the last 30 days alone.

Uniswap’s popularity likely not only steals customers from centralized exchanges like Coinbase Pro but also drives up gas prices. Given that Coinbase Pro was previously paying transaction fees on behalf of its users, this will likely have had an impact on the company’s profitability.

Gas prices on Sept. 17 reportedly ranged from between $3.93 and $11.27, making smaller transactions impractical.

Community Not Impressed with Coinbase Announcement

The crypto industry was quick to scorn Coinbase for the policy pivot. Responses claimed that the change would cause customers to look for new platforms elsewhere.

Others drew attention to the rate at which Coinbase levies other fees. One respondent made the case that the exchange should pay transaction costs, given the high trading fees on the platform.

Some chose to criticize Ethereum itself, rather than Coinbase, citing Ethereum’s scaling issues. With limited block space, ETH send prices increase when many transactions are waiting.

These scaling issues continue to be a hot topic as the crypto community anticipates Ethereum’s next major upgrade, Ethereum 2.0.

In its current form, Ethereum gas fees suggest that the network may not be capable of efficiently supporting the growth of DeFi. Competitors like Binance’s Smart Chain intend to support Ethereum-compatible applications without excessive transaction costs.

Users put off by heightened Ethereum transaction costs may ultimately switch to more centralized solutions or other networks supporting decentralized applications.

Disclaimer

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A former professional gambler, Rick first found Bitcoin in 2013 whilst researching alternative payment methods to use at online casinos. After transitioning to writing full-time in 2016, he put a growing passion for Bitcoin to work for him. He has since written for a number of digital asset publications.

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