“We need better than Bitcoin” Traders react to latest BTC network congestion

Remember those heady days back in 2017 when Bitcoin was shooting for that magical $20,000 mark and the whole of crypto was on a massive roll? Seems like a lifetime ago doesn’t it! Remember when nobody cared that it took 1-2 days to make a Bitcoin transaction of any reasonable size? I tell a lie, actually we all cared and we all worried when we had to make a Bitcoin transaction. Will it arrive this week? Will it arrive at all? Will I miss my trades by the time my BTC lands? It was farcical.

In crypto we have short memories. We remember the great bear market as if it was yesterday (OK, we may still not be out of the woods yet so technically…..) but the Bitcoin network crashing has faded from most peoples memories a little bit. At least until yesterday that is. A 20% crypto market rally, huge trading volumes across the board and suddenly Twitter is awash with tales of 24, 36 and 48 hour BTC transaction times.

bitcoin transaction times

BTC Transaction Confirmation Times

If we look at blockchain.com and see the Median Confirmation Time for BTC transactions (The median time for a transaction to be accepted into a mined block and added to the public ledger (note: only includes transactions with miner fees)) we see a peak time of 27 minutes back in November 2017. The last listed time was 12 minutes for the 30th of March so it will be interesting to see what the data tells us when it is updated for yesterday.

But these median times just don’t tell the whole story do they. Send a small Bitcoin transaction and it may complete quickly – I’ve had some small transactions complete within quarter of an hour. But even during slow market days I’ve had good sized transactions take an hour at best and at worst over 24 hours (and that is even with paying the highest transaction fee to try and speed up the process).

We are living in the digital age, with digital money, super fast broadband internet and 4g and 5g wireless networks. 24+ hours is not acceptable. I can download a thousand movies in the time it takes to send a handful of Bitcoins from one exchange to another!

Traders demand better, faster and cheaper than BTC

If crypto as a whole is to really see global adoption (and that is what we all want after all isn’t it?) then either Bitcoin needs to find a way to move away from the archaic Proof Of Work system (don’t get me started on the electricity) or exchanges need to move away from placing Bitcoin on a pedestal and switch to a much quicker, cheaper, safer and more efficient base trading pair.

These levels of network congestion after just one short green day is no way to inspire confidence into a new asset class market and certainly defies the logic of anyone who realizes there are hundreds of far better cryptocurrencies out there already.

Thanks to Galgitron for providing us with some interesting statistics regarding the relative capacities of Bitcoin versus XRP:

So a top side of 400 thousand transactions per day for Bitcoin versus 129 million for XRP. That is quite a telling difference isn’t it.

The real world can’t do anything with Bitcoin and that has already been proven countless times with hundreds of retailers and websites pulling Bitcoin as a payment method after unsuccessful trials (go on then, I have to mention it don’t I… the Bitcoin conference which refused Bitcoin as a payment method for tickets because it was too slow and expensive… we’ll never tire of that ironic truth now will we).

What can I do?

Simple, demand more from your favorite exchanges:

  • Demand better.
  • Demand faster.
  • Demand cheaper.

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