Cardano vs Ethereum: Transaction Fees

The way different blockchain networks handle transaction fees can significantly affect user experience. Today, we explain a notable difference between two giants in the field: Cardano and Ethereum. Specifically, we will explore why users don’t have to pay for failed transactions on Cardano, whereas they do on Ethereum.

Understanding Transaction Fees

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s briefly understand what transaction fees are. In both Cardano and Ethereum networks, users have to pay a fee to have their transactions processed. This fee serves as a reward for the validators (in both networks) who maintain the network and validate transactions.

Ethereum’s Gas Fee System

In the Ethereum network, transaction fees are known as “gas fees”. The gas fee is calculated based on the computational power required to process the transaction. Here’s where the issue of failed transactions comes into play. Even if a transaction fails, the validators still had to use computational power to process the attempt, and hence, the gas fee is still charged. This is seen as a downside by many users, as they lose money on failed transactions.

Cardano’s Approach

On the other hand, Cardano operates on a different mechanism. In Cardano, the transaction fees are calculated based on the size of the transaction, not the computational power required. Moreover, the network is designed to validate the transaction conditions before actually processing it. This means that if a transaction is going to fail, it gets stopped before any processing occurs, hence no fees are charged. This approach not only saves money for the users but also prevents unnecessary load on the network.

Technical Insights

Technically speaking, the difference stems from the fundamental designs of the two networks. Ethereum, which recently transitioned from a Proof of Work (PoW) to a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism (as detailed in this article), determines the validity of a transaction during its execution. This means the network has to perform computations even if the transaction eventually fails, hence the incurred gas fee.

Cardano, however, operates on the UTXO (Unspent Transaction Output) model, which verifies the transaction conditions before execution. This preemptive approach ensures that failed transactions are filtered out before any computational effort is expended, saving users from unnecessary fees. You can learn more about this model in this article.


In conclusion, the way Cardano and Ethereum handle transaction fees for failed transactions showcases a significant difference in their operational philosophies. While Ethereum’s method can sometimes be seen as costly and inefficient, Cardano’s approach is user-friendly and cost-effective, preventing users from losing money on failed transactions.

Understanding these nuances can help users make informed decisions when navigating the complex world of cryptocurrencies. It’s always recommended to delve deeper and understand the technicalities of different networks to choose the one that suits your needs the best.

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