Bitcoin, the digital currency that took the world by storm less than a decade ago, captivated the imagination and still does. From the advent of the Internet, people had dreamed of the day they could create a digital currency; one that never left the computer was convenient and untraceable. But, like with any currency, there are bound to be problems that arise. For Bitcoin, however, these problems are different than those faced by traditional currencies.
Bitcoin capacity limitations
Members of the Bitcoin community have warned that without changes to the Bitcoin software, the currency would become overwhelmed. Or, in other words, the growth of Bitcoin transaction will reach a point where it is over capacity and unable to grow any more. Unfortunately, these warnings went largely ignored- and this week the predictions came true. Bitcoin transactions all over the world have been delayed or failed completely due to the fact that the Bitcoin system could not handle the sheer amount of users and transactions taking place.
Increased transaction times
According to users, before, a transaction took about 10 minutes to be confirmed. Now, a single transaction is taking over 40 minutes to be completed- a fact that is making Bitcoin-accepting stores drop it as an acceptable payment method.
The reason for the added time to process a transaction is due to the fact that the Bitcoins have to be “mined” before they can be used, a process which takes about 10 minutes and provides only 1MB worth of data- while many transactions require much more. To solve this problem, it has been suggested changing block sizes from 1MB to 2MB, allowing for the transactions to happen quicker, and giving miners access to more data faster.
Unfortunately, this is where the debate really lies. Those who want to increase the block size are looking to change the Core, the original Bitcoin script, to allow for these bigger blocks. But, they also want to provide an open source code that would allow other people to begin easily mining. Others, however, are against the idea of changing anything concerning the Core of Bitcoin codes.
Decentralized decision making
The vote on what to do is open to the public, but it is the miners that will be controlling the software in the end. But, like with any situation requiring people to vote, each side is being accused of using dirty and aggressive tactics to come out on top. While this debate continues, many Bitcoin users are finding it difficult to continue using the currency, and it will continue to be difficult until changes are finally made.
The longer Bitcoin continues as it is right now, the harder it will be for them to make a comeback. People already are having to abandon Bitcoin as a method of paying, at least temporarily. Shops are no longer as open to accepting Bitcoin as they once were, now that it looking like an unreliable payment form. Once changes start getting made, and a new way to handle the massive amounts of transactions is decided, then Bitcoin will be able to show that they are still in the game.