Bitcoin Network Surpasses One Billion On-Chain Transactions

The Runes protocol drove a recent uptick in Bitcoin's on-chain transaction volume.

By: Mehab Qureshi Loading...

Bitcoin Network Surpasses One Billion On-Chain Transactions

The Bitcoin network processed its billionth on-chain transaction more than 15 years after launching.

The transaction was contained in Bitcoin’s 842,241st block and was mined at 5:34 pm Sunday, Eastern Time (ET) on May 5, according to Clark Moody's Bitcoin dashboard. At the time of writing, the Bitcoin network had logged 1,000,323,746 transactions in total.

The milestone follows a recent uptick in transaction volume since Bitcoin’s fourth halving and Runes, a protocol for creating Bitcoin-based fungible tokens, both went live on April 20. Bitcoin’s highest daily transaction count was recorded on April 23 with 926,000, coinciding with peak activity surrounding the Runes protocol.

For comparison, February 6 marked the slowest day for Bitcoin’s on-chain activity in 2024 thus, with the network processing 278,093 transactions in 24 hours. On May 5, the daily transaction count was 625,998, according to Ycharts.

Daily Bitcoin transaction volume. Source: Ycharts.

Data from Dune shows that Rune has driven more than 5.5 million transactions since launching on April 20 — equating to 0.55% of Bitcoin’s total transaction count over the course of 0.285% of Bitcoin’s entire lifespan.

However, Bitcoin was not the first blockchain to surpass the 1 billion transaction threshold.

Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency Ethereum surpassed 1 billion transactions in the first week of February 2021 — roughly five and a half years after its mainnet launch in July 2015, according to data from Blockchair. At the time of writing, Ethereum had processed 2.36 billion transactions in total, according to Etherscan.

Bitcoin’s origins

The mysterious creator of Bitcoin, pseudonymously known as Satoshi Nakamoto, conducted the very first transaction on the network on January 12, 2009, when he transferred 10 bitcoins to Hal Finney, a computer scientist and cryptographer.

Finney worked closely with Satoshi and other pioneering Bitcoin cypherpunks in the network’s early days, with Finney operating a node and working to identify bugs in its code. Finney tragically succumbed to Lou Gehrig's disease in 2014.

However, many prominent figures within the blockchain community have since argued that Finney is among the most likely candidates to have been Satoshi Nakamoto, with Finney having created the Reusable Proof of Work consensus mechanism that inspired Bitcoin’s Proof of Work system. Finney’s declining health also could explain Satoshi’s decision to vanish after posting on the BitcoinTalk forum for the last time on December 12, 2010.

By the end of 2015, the Bitcoin network surpassed the milestone of 100 million transactions, data from Ycharts show. The network’s transaction count broke above 500 million transactions in February 2020.