The Bitcoin network experienced a dramatic 99% decrease in daily Rune etchings, with only 157 Runes recorded on Monday, down from a peak of 14,700 in late April, according to Dune Analytics data.

This decline in Rune etchings, a fungible token protocol, has significantly reduced transaction fee income for Bitcoin miners.

On April 26, a record 23,061 Runes were etched, but the recent drop has seen transaction fees from etchings fall to just US$3,835 on Monday.

Following its introduction on April 20, the Runes protocol initially boosted miners’ earnings by generating substantial transaction fees, compensating for income losses after the fourth Bitcoin halving event.

The halving, which coincided with the Runes launch, reduced the block subsidy to 3.125 BTC, but increased transaction volume from Runes helped maintain miner revenue.

To date, over 91,200 Runes have been etched on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Despite the recent downturn, Runes transactions have dominated Bitcoin network activity.

The protocol, introduced by Ordinals creator Casey Rodarmor, aims to create fungible tokens by utilizing block space more efficiently than BRC-20s and aligns with Bitcoin’s unspent transaction output (UTXO) model.

Some Bitcoin core developers have criticized the Runes protocol, suggesting it takes advantage of Bitcoin network vulnerabilities.