Complaints of high transaction fees for bitcoin payments are soon likely to be a thing of the past. In a topic posted on GitHub three months ago, Mike Hearn proposed reducing the fee by 10 times due to the higher exchange rate.
As of today, core developers Gavin Andresen and Jeff Garzik acknowledged the proposal has been merged into the master bitcoin section on Github, which will put it on the road to be included in the next software update.
The move will greatly improve microtransactions, of which many in community criticized the disproportionate fees to the amount of bitcoin they were sending.
The last fee drop was by 5x (from 50k satoshis to 10k satoshis) in the 0.8.2 release which was about 6 months ago.
The current fee is (assuming a $500 exchange rate) about 5 dollar cents. The new fee after this patch is 0.5 cents.
Miners who prefer the higher fees are obviously still able to use the command line flags to override this setting. Miners who choose to create smaller blocks will select the highest-fee paying transactions anyway.
This would hopefully be the last manual adjustment ever required before floating fees become normal.
The fee decrease will work as a short-term solution before smart fees (also known as floating fees) take over, which will allow the market to determine the most efficient fee.