Gas War: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research September 15, 2023

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  • A cryptocurrency gas war is a competition among users to outbid each other for limited block space, driving up transaction fees and causing network congestion
  • Gas wars in cryptocurrencies occur when users compete to pay higher gas fees to have their transactions included in the blockchain
  • These wars can lead to faster transactions, higher chances of confirmatio, and efficient allocation of network resources.
  • However, they also come with disadvantages such as increased transaction costs, unpredictable fees, and the exclusion of low-value transactions.


Cryptocurrency gas war: A competition among users to outbid each other for limited block space, driving up transaction fees and causing network congestion. During a gas war, participants compete to promptly process their transactions by outbidding others. This competition raises gas fees, making transactions more expensive. Users must assess transaction urgency and value against rising costs.

A Brief History

Gas wars originated in Ethereum, as its smart contract capabilities attracted decentralized applications (dapps) and initial coin offerings (ICOs). The popularity of CryptoKitties in 2017 caused congestion on the Ethereum network, leading to the emergence of gas wars.

Gas War: Everything to Know

  • Gas Limit and Gas Price. Gas limit is the maximum computational work a block can contain, and each transaction consumes a certain amount of gas. Miners prioritize transactions with higher gas fees to earn more rewards.Gas price represents the amount of cryptocurrency a user is willing to pay per unit of gas. During gas wars, users increase the gas price to outbid others and ensure prompt transaction processing.
  • Strategies in Gas Wars. Users employ strategies like using gas price estimation tools to determine appropriate gas prices based on network conditions. Some set high initial gas prices to bypass competition, while others wait for congestion to decrease before submitting transactions with lower gas prices.
  • Impact on Users and the Network. Participating in gas wars means higher transaction costs for users. It can be challenging for retail investors or users with limited resources. Gas wars contribute to congestion and slower transaction processing times, making it difficult for lower-priced transactions to be included in blocks.
  • Mitigating Gas Wars. Blockchain networks are exploring solutions to address gas wars. Ethereum aims to improve scalability and reduce gas fees. Layer 2 scaling solutions, like state channels and sidechains enable off-chain transaction processing to relieve the main blockchain's burden.

Getting Started

To understand gas wars, grasp the basics of blockchain networks. Blockchains are decentralized ledgers that record transactions across multiple nodes. Transactions form blocks added sequentially and immutably. Consensus mechanisms like proof-of-work (PoW) or proof-of-stake (PoS) maintain blockchain integrity and security.

Gas measures computational effort in blockchain networks. It allocates resources and determines fees for executing transactions or smart contracts. Gas ensures network efficiency and prevents resource-intensive operations from overwhelming the system.

Unique Aspects

Gas wars occur when block space is in high demand, limiting available transactions in a block. To secure transaction inclusion, participants engage in bidding wars, offering higher gas fees to miners or validators. Miners prioritize high-fee transactions to maximize earnings in the next block.

Gas wars can congest networks and increase confirmation times. Growing pending transactions cause delays and longer waits for inclusion in a block. This delay affects applications requiring near-instant confirmations, like decentralized exchanges or high-frequency trading platforms.


  • Faster transactions - Gas wars incentivize higher fees, encouraging miners to prioritize transactions and significantly improve network transaction speed.
  • Higher chances of confirmation - In gas wars, users offering higher gas fees are more likely to have their transactions included in the next block, reducing the chance of stuck or delayed transactions.
  • Efficient allocation of resources - Gas wars allocate network resources to users who urgently need their transactions processed. Outbidding others ensures prompt processing and prioritization.
  • Fair market-driven fees - Gas wars introduce a market element to transaction fees, allowing users to determine the price they're willing to pay. This fosters fairness and prevents monopolization of network resources.
  • Incentives for miners - Gas wars benefit miners by providing higher fees for including transactions in blocks. This incentivizes their continued network security and transaction validation, contributing to decentralization.


  • Increased transaction costs - Gas wars often lead to higher transaction fees due to competitive bidding. While faster confirmations are possible for those willing to pay more, this makes transactions expensive for all participants. High fees may exclude individuals with limited financial resources.
  • Unpredictable fees - Gas wars introduce fee unpredictability, making it challenging for users to accurately estimate transaction costs. This can result in unexpected expenses and difficulty in budgeting cryptocurrency activities.
  • Exclusion of low-value transactions - Gas wars prioritize higher fee transactions, making it difficult for low-value transactions to be included in blocks during peak times. This hampers cryptocurrency usability for microtransactions and everyday purchases.
  • Centralization risks - In gas wars, users with more financial resources can outbid others and secure faster confirmations, potentially concentrating power and influence in the hands of fee-paying individuals. This undermines blockchain network decentralization.
  • Network congestion - Gas wars intensify network congestion during high demand periods. When many users compete for limited block space, overall network performance slows down, and transaction processing time increases.