Ultra-low Fees on EVM-compatible Chains: Have It Held Up?

In the race to produce cheaper, more efficient smart contract platforms, more than a dozen contenders have launched in the last few years. Many of which promised incredibly cheap transaction fees — but how have they actually held up? We take a look at a snapshot of transaction fees exactly one year ago and now; while not completely capturing periods of high congestion, users of these blockchains can expect fees to range around this compared to a year ago.

Still the most active EVM-compatible chain by number of daily transactions, BNB Chain has seen its average transaction fee shrink over the last year — falling from $0.36 to $0.3. This makes it the second-most expensive EVM chain by average tx fee, behind Avalanche. However, it is still the most popular by on-chain activity, processing more transactions each day than Avalanche, Fantom and Polygon combined, at more than 5M transactions per day.Despite seeing its daily transaction count multiply 50 fold in the last year, Avalanche transaction fees have fallen by more than 40% over the same period — owed to a series of ‘Apricot’ upgrade

Nonetheless, Avalanche transaction fees briefly touched more than $10 last year amid severe congestion when the AVAX token reached its all-time highest value. The average C-Chain tx fee now sits at just under $1 — making it the most expensive EVM-compatible chain to transact on.Fantom has seen by far the most significant growth in absolute daily transaction count over the last year. Swelling from less than 5,000 tx/day in March 2021 to over 880,000/day in March 2022, equivalent to more than 175-fold growth.

It has also seen the largest relative change in average transaction fee, which has multiplied more than ten-fold from $0.01 last year to $0.13 currently. This comes alongside significant growth in its DeFi landscape and activity on DEXes like Spooky SwapSpirit Swap and recently launched Solidly Exchange.Check out our deep dive into Solidly exchange.Over the last year, Polygon (MATIC) has maintained its title as the cheapest EVM chain by transaction fee, with an average fee of less than $0.02 — which is still up eight-fold from a year ago. Even during periods of maximum congestion, due to popular play-to-earn game — SunflowerLand, fees have scarcely touched above $0.5. Polygon is now the second most active EVM chain, behind BNB Chain, and now processes upwards of 2.7M tx/day, a 15X improvement in a year.Overall, every major EVM-compatible chain still beats out Ethereum (currently processing ~1.2M tx/day) in terms of transaction fees, and both BNB Chain and Polygon do so while processing more transactions, while Avalanche and Fantom are hot on its heels. However, with Ethereum layer-2 scaling solutions like ZKSync, Optimism and StarkWare bringing low cost transactions to the network, EVM-compatible chains have some serious competition.Check out our guide on how to use layer-2 rollups to avoid high gas fees on Ethereum.

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