Over the past 24 hours, the blockchain has been inundated with small, spam-like transactions that are large in data size, but significantly small in bitcoin value transferred.
At the peak, there were more than 50,000 unconfirmed transactions waiting to be mined into a block, resulting in delays for normal transactions to be confirmed. While the network has been working to decrease this backlog — transactions are down to 31,000 at time of this article’s writing — the type of transactions that are being sent suggest this is a continuation of a stress test that has been put on the system.
There have been numerous transactions hitting the network with tiny transaction values, such as 0.0001 bitcoin being sent repeatedly. While not every transaction has been this exact size, there have been numerous others sent every second, reaching hundreds of transactions per second at the peak.
Further, the physical sizes of these transactions are significantly greater than other ones with far more value. Due to the 1 megabyte cap on block size, the mining network has found it difficult to process all these small transactions.
In the past several weeks, similar stress tests have been