The number of Bitcoin transactions surged to a new record high Tuesday, dwarfing previous peak activity including that seen during the Mt. Gox implosion in December 2013.
A new record
A high of 442 transactions per second was recorded for July 7 - approximately two times the average rate of the PayPal network at ~289 tps.
A sudden surge over the two days from July 5 saw the number of daily transactions more than quadruple to reach a maximum 202,000 before starting to fall. A previous, less intense surge had begun June 30; something commonly attributed to news of Greece’s potential insolvency and renewed capital controls.
“It's brilliant that the network has held up so well with just 1MB blocks. Makes me a lot less worried about the future, even if block size isn't increased right away,” one Reddit user noted following publication of the data.
Concern over the structural integrity of the Bitcoin network has been at the forefront of debate with both developers and commentators considering how to provide for a potential widespread adoption and usage scenario. Coupled with uncertainty over core development funding, the network’s demonstration of its ability to nonetheless process sudden significant increases in traffic is timely.
Lead developer Gavin Andresen has tabled a motion to increase the size of a Bitcoin transaction block from 1MB to 8MB via a hard fork, a move which would allow for more transactions per second but which other parties have not universally accepted.
A separate argument currently being debated by Open Bitcoin Privacy Project creator Justus Ranvier, points to the block size limit artificially keeping availability of Bitcoin low, while low transaction fees also limit the system’s value.
“My proposal is: stop trying to solve the problem of how to make sure people don't use too much of a resource that's being provided for free,” Ranvier said in a recent interview with Cointelegraph.
While transaction rates meanwhile have come off yesterday’s record, continued above-average usage is expected over the coming days as the situation in Greece remains unpredictable with regard to bank solvency and free access to funds for withdrawal or transfer.
Some Bitcoin operators have taken to offering incentives to Greek citizens, such as waiving of trade fees to facilitate easier forays into Bitcoin-based wealth management.