Bitcoin Scalability: Addressing the Challenges of Mass
Bitcoin Scalability: Addressing the Challenges of Mass Adoption. Pixabay

The Bitcoin scalability issue is its network's limited capability to quickly handle significant transaction data on the platform. This problem is due to the limited size and frequency of Bitcoin records or blocks in its blockchain. The blocks contain the Bitcoin network's transactions. This popularity and surge in demand brought the Bitcoin scalability issue to light as more people flock to platforms like Qumas AI to trade it.

The average block creation duration of 10 minutes and the 1-megabyte block size limit the Bitcoin network's capacity for on-chain transaction processing. Jointly, these factors constrain the Bitcoin network's throughput. Experts estimate the maximum transaction processing capacity using the median or average transaction range from 3.3 to 7 per second.

What is Bitcoin Scalability an Issue?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Bitcoin broke the record after its price hit an all-time high of more than $65,000 in November 2021.

Media attention exploded, leading to millions of individuals and enterprises joining the crypto network. Connoisseurs had foreseen a situation where the Bitcoin network would run against its capacity limits. The increasing number of users overloaded the Bitcoin network due to its limit of a maximum capacity of about seven transactions per second.

But how does this work? The Bitcoins system spreads transactions over the network and collects them in a local transaction pool or memory pool. Miners process transactions in bundles of 1MB in a block and then add them to the blockchain. Therefore, the blockchain is a chronological chain comprising blocks with Bitcoin transaction data.

The maximum size of a block is 1MB, and an average transaction is about 250 bytes. Additionally, the network processes one block per ten minutes. But what happens if users make hundreds or thousands of transactions per second in the event of mass adoption?

The Solution to the Challenges of Mass Adoption

Several things could happen if stakeholders don't address the Bitcoin scalability issue. They include the following:

  • Some nodes would disappear because they wouldn't keep up with storage
  • Miners would be unable to validate transactions
  • Centralized mining could emerge

If these things happen, Bitcoin will cease to exist. That's stakeholders should address the Bitcoin scalability issue. Currently, developers are working on several projects to address Bitcoin's mass adoption challenges. Some of the ongoing projects include the following.

Lightning Network

A lightning network is among the exciting proposals for enhancing Bitcoin scalability. This solution aims to address Bitcoin scalability, micropayments, and instant transactions. It uses payment channels or smart contracts that may facilitate Bitcoin scalability to levels of millions of cheap and actual instant transactions.

Dynamic Blocks

The dynamic blocks proposal aims to replace the original maximum block size. It seeks to introduce a dynamically controlled block size that decreases or increases as the mining difficulty changes due to varying network factors. That way, the network would increase if users need it to be overside and reduced when necessary.

Segregated Witnesses

This proposal aims to see smaller transactions instead of larger blocks. To do this, developers suggest reducing the information that goes to each transaction via cryptography. Bitcoin testnet has already implemented a system that claims it can double or quadruple the transactions entering a block without altering the size.

Side Chains

Another famous concept is the sidechain, which links to Bitcoin scalability in some ways. This concept might create blockchain alternatives for some use cases but with specific rules. However, they could connect to the Bitcoin blockchain, enhancing load reduction. While this technically doesn't improve Bitcoin scalability, it can increase the number of transactions miners process since they can use side chains for some cases lowering the load in the main one.

Parting Shot

Developers have suggested several proposals for improving Bitcoin scalability. Implementing these proposals may enable Bitcoin to handle more transactions per second while upholding its distributed operations. Developers are already implementing some of these proposals, while others require consensus. Only time will tell whether Bitcoin will overcome the scalability challenges to become a genuinely global financial system.