The lucky miner earned 6.701 Bitcoin ( BTC ) or nearly $200,000 in transaction charges on Sunday night. This is an extremely rare event that shows how the recent surge of activity related to the Ordinals Protocol has resulted in soaring costs.

Ordinals launched “inscriptions” late last year. These are arbitrary contents like text or images which can be added sequentially-numbered satoshis (or “sats”, the smallest unit in Bitcoin) to create non-fungible, unique tokens. Ordinals can now be used to mint BRC-20s which are, for all intents, fungible tokens.

These new tokens are gaining popularity quickly, but they come at a high price. The Bitcoin network has been clogged and stretched to its limits. This is a test to see how well the first and largest blockchain can cope with a rapid scaling.

The fees to send coins have risen, transactions are taking longer to complete, and users and exchanges alike are now considering alternatives. Lightning Network is one of the solutions. It’s a “layer 2” scaling system designed to make Bitcoin transaction faster and cheaper.

The market value of ‘Bitcoin request for comment’ tokens has risen to $137M

Anita Posch is a Bitcoin educator, and the founder of Bitcoin for Fairness. “I onboard people mainly in Africa. These people don’t get to pay high fees like you. “They really need BTC while you are just playing around.”

BRC-20s contain JavaScript Object Notation data – snippets that allow data structures to be ported across platforms. Since the JSON inscriptions actually are code, they can also be programmed to create enormous token supplies.

The ability to create tokens from thin air has caused hysteria and anxiety among blockchain users. Recent blocks are awash with BRC-20 transactions. The fees hover around 20 per transaction. This is an 800% increase from the $1-2 transaction fee typical in 2022.

The surge in fees caused a shockwave in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, temporarily stopped bitcoin withdrawals because of a fee miscalculation. This led to frustration and distress among residents in some parts of Africa, Latin America, and Asia who rely on bitcoin to make everyday payments.

Bitcoin’s high transaction fees have an unavoidable impact on those who depend on base-layer payments. Lightning Network can help. The Lightning Network, also known as Bitcoin Layer 2 Scaling Solution, is a network of connected computers that routes bitcoin payments off the chain. This results in cheaper and quicker transactions.

Read more: Block demand leads to fee spike as Bitcoin-based meme coins flourish

Binance has announced that it is integrating Lightning due to the sudden increase in bitcoin fees.

Posch said that even Lightning needs an initial transaction on the chain to establish a channel for payments. The costs are prohibitive and even this single transaction is out of reach.

“Can’t use on-chain, can’t open channels,” Posch tweeted. This leaves only custodial Lightning as an option. All this because some people find it fun to break Bitcoin.

The last point, about breaking Bitcoin, has been a theme on Crypto Twitter following the chain’s NFT minfest.

Posch suggests that meme-loving hacker are testing the limits on Bitcoin. Others have a more conspiracy theory interpretation. They suggest without evidence that BRC-20 is in fact a coordinated attack against the world’s most dominant blockchain.