top of page
  • Writer's pictureRyan Barrett

Reducing Financial Transaction Fees: The Blockchain Revolution

The financial landscape is experiencing an upheaval, as blockchain technology rapidly evolves and reshapes the way we perceive and conduct financial transactions. Blockchain's decentralized model and its potential to reduce transaction costs significantly presents a compelling alternative to the traditional banking system.

The Traditional Banking System

Before delving into the details of blockchain, it's crucial to understand the mechanisms that underlie the traditional banking system. The conventional banking model relies heavily on a central authority—typically a government or a central bank— responsible for regulating financial transactions, monitoring the flow of money, and maintaining economic stability [1].

Financial transactions conducted via traditional banking channels are subject to various transaction fees. These fees are usually levied for services like wire transfers, currency conversion, ATM withdrawals, and even maintaining an account. The central authority typically uses these fees to cover operational costs and to generate revenue [2].

A Blockchain Alternative

Blockchain technology offers an innovative solution to reduce transaction fees. It provides a decentralized ledger, eliminating the need for an intermediary to validate transactions, thereby reducing associated costs.

The most notable example of blockchain's success in reducing fees is Bitcoin. Bitcoin transactions require users to pay a transaction fee (also known as a miner's fee) to incentivize miners to add their transactions to the blockchain. As of September 2021, the average Bitcoin transaction fee was approximately $0.79 [3], considerably less than the fees charged by banks for international wire transfers, which can be upwards of $30 [4].

However, it's important to note that not all blockchain transaction fees are inherently low. Ethereum, for instance, uses a mechanism called 'gas' to allocate resources on its network. Each operation, including transactions and smart contract interactions, requires a certain amount of 'gas'. The total transaction fee (in Ether) is calculated as gas used * gas price, where the gas price is set by the user and measured in Gwei (1 Gwei = 10^-9 Ether) [5]. In the gas price timeline below, a value of 26.92Gwei corresponds to $0.00005116.

Ethereum Average Gas Price (I:EGPND; YCharts)

Ethereum Average Transaction Fee (USD) (I:EATFND; YCharts)

Blockchain vs. Traditional Banking: A Balanced Perspective

While blockchain provides significant advantages over traditional banking in terms of transaction fees, it's not without its share of challenges. Transaction fees on the blockchain can be highly volatile, based on network congestion. For example, Ethereum's average transaction fees can spike to over $20 during periods of heavy network usage [6].

Moreover, users also have to factor in the 'cost of trust' while interacting with blockchain systems. Since there's no central authority to arbitrate disputes, the onus falls on users to vet their transaction partners and ensure their funds are safe. This can sometimes result in additional costs related to security and due diligence.


While blockchain technology offers a compelling alternative to traditional banking in terms of transaction fees, it's crucial for users to understand the nuances of this emerging technology. Decentralization brings about the promise of lower fees, but it also introduces volatility and the necessity for increased vigilance.

As blockchain continues to evolve, it holds the promise of further reducing financial transaction costs and democratizing access to financial services worldwide. However, prudent adoption and careful consideration of the associated risks are crucial for its sustained success.


  1. "What Central Banks Do", Investopedia, 2021.

  2. "Bank Fees Definition and Different Types", Investopedia, 2021.

  3. "Bitcoin Average Transaction Fee (I:BATF)", YCharts, 2023.

  4. "Wire Transfers: A Guide to What Banks Charge", Nerdwallet, 2021.

  5. "What is gas in Ethereum?", Binance Academy, 2021.

  6. "Ethereum Average Gas Price", YCharts, 2023.

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page