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It's 2020 September 3. Fees to send 20 USDC to someone is about $10-15 worth of gas fees. How can I minimize the gas fees when using metamask? And is it true that if I set the gas fee too low, I would lose my ETH on a failed USDC transaction?

Last time this happened was with cryptokitties a few years ago. How come nothing was revamped to foresee a potential gas fee issue all these years on layer 1? What solutions are there for layer 1?

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  • How can I minimize the gas fees when using metamask?

It is possible to set custom gas fees when sending a transaction with Metamask (see here : https://metamask.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360015488771-How-to-Adjust-Gas-Price-and-Gas-Limit-). The Ethereum network is currently overloaded and the consequence is a higher gas cost. You can see the average gas price here : https://ethgasstation.info/.

  • And is it true that if I set the gas fee too low, I would lose my ETH on a failed USDC transaction?

No, your transaction, in the worst case, will not be mined and get stucked. In this situation you have to send a new transaction with the same nonce and a higher gas price. Metamask does it for you with the "cancel transaction" option. Note that you can't lose funds on a failed transaction as your transaction will not be validated by the network. However you will lose the gas paid to process the transaction.

  • How come nothing was revamped to foresee a potential gas fee issue all these years on layer 1? What solutions are there for layer 1?

Gas fees are a real challenge and some solutions are under reviewed for Ethereum 2.0. One of them is the EIP-1559. This EIP has the objective to change the transaction pricing model by instauring a base fee per gas managed by the network. For more informations you can check the github page : https://github.com/ethereum/EIPs/blob/master/EIPS/eip-1559.md. Other solutions include sidechains which are a "layer 2" scaling solution enabling to lighter the main network.

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  • An excellent answer. I'd also add that Eth2.0 will probably result in lower gas fees, once it becomes reality. – Lauri Peltonen Sep 3 at 17:31
  • So I will lose my $15 gas fee if I cancel the transaction? – Patoshi パトシ Sep 3 at 20:22
  • Yes, gas fees are paid each time a new transaction is sent to the network. By "cancelling" a tx we mean replacing it by a new one with the same nonce and higher gas fees. So you have to pay fees in this case too. – clement Sep 4 at 6:05

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