[bitcoin-dev] Fees and the block-finding process

Gavin Andresen gavinandresen at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 14:57:23 UTC 2015

Popping this into it's own thread:

Jorge asked:

> >> 1) If "not now", when will it be a good time to let the "market
> >> minimum fee for miners to mine a transaction" rise above zero?

I answered:

> > 1. If you are willing to wait an infinite amount of time, I think the
> > minimum fee will always be zero or very close to zero, so I think it's a
> > silly question.

Which Jorge misinterpreted to mean that I think there will always be at
least one miner willing to mine a transaction for free.

That's not what I'm thinking. It is just an observation based on the fact
that blocks are found at random intervals.

Every once in a while the network will get lucky and we'll find six blocks
in ten minutes. If you are deciding what transaction fee to put on your
transaction, and you're willing to wait until that
six-blocks-in-ten-minutes once-a-week event, submit your transaction with a
low fee.

All the higher-fee transactions waiting to be confirmed will get confirmed
in the first five blocks and, if miners don't have any floor on the fee
they'll accept (they will, but lets pretend they won't) then your
very-low-fee transaction will get confirmed.

In the limit, that logic becomes "wait an infinite amount of time, pay zero

So... I have no idea what the 'market minimum fee' will be, because I have
no idea how long people will be willing to wait, how many times they'll be
willing to retransmit a low-fee transaction that gets evicted from
memory-limited memory pools, or how much memory miners will be willing to
dedicate to storing transactions that won't confirm for a long time because
they're waiting for a flurry of blocks to be found.

Gavin Andresen
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