The year 2017 can become quite a good one for Bitcoin, although it is still a bit early to tell. One milestone has already been reached, as a new record has been set on January 6th. On that day, the Bitcoin network processed a record-high number of transactions, which indicates Bitcoin is coming to maturity. Although this number pales in comparison to traditional financial systems, things are looking positive.
A New Record For Daily Bitcoin Transactions
Even though many are still skeptical of Bitcoin as a currency, it is evident the ecosystem continues to grow. With a new record set for daily Bitcoin transactions, it is proof that people start to use Bitcoin for more than just an investment vehicle. After all, hoarding coins will not create more network transactions, other than sending funds from one wallet to another.
With a total of 343,000 transactions recorded on January 6th, it is undeniable that the Bitcoin network continues to grow. To put this number into perspective, the average number of transactions per second is 4. On an hourly basis, 14,250 Bitcoin transactions were broadcast to the network, which is a solid number. Considering how Visa processes a few thousand transactions per second, there is still a very long way to go.
It appears the Bitcoin network is coming close to the limits imposed by the current block size. With Segregated Witness, this problem can be resolved rather quickly. It remains unclear if this proposal will fully activate on the network, though, as it needs majority consensus first. So far, we are still several months away from securing the necessary support to activate SegWit.
One explanation, is that the recent Bitcoin price surge may have contributed to this new daily transaction record. Massive amounts of trading has taken place over the past few days, which will pad the transaction numbers. Then again, reaching 343,000 daily transactions is a significant milestone for the Bitcoin network as a whole. Things have progressed in teh right direction over the past eight years; that much is certain.
It is also worth noting the higher transaction fees are not diminishing the growth of the Bitcoin network. Throughout 2016, there have been a few incidents of network congestion, forcing Bitcoin users to up their transaction fees. Although some people thought this would hinder the increase of Bitcoin transactions on the network, that has not been the case. This does not mean higher transaction fees are a positive trend, though.
If the Bitcoin ecosystem wants to set new daily transaction highs, the current limits will need to be addressed soon. Segregated Witness remains the prime candidate to allow for more transactions per second moving forward. However, it is up to the Bitcoin community to determine how and when these limits will be addressed.
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