Over the last year and a half a number of prominent voices in the Bitcoin community have been warning that the system needed to make fundamental changes to its core software code to avoid being overwhelmed by the continued growth of Bitcoin transactions. There was strong disagreement within the community, however, about how to solve this problem, or if the problem would ever materialize.
This week the dire predictions came to pass, as the network reached its capacity, causing transactions around the world to be massively delayed, and in some cases to fail completely. The average time to confirm a transaction has ballooned from 10 minutes to 43 minutes. Users are left confused and shops that once accepted Bitcoin are dropping out.
Bitcoin transactions are confirmed every time miners create a new block on the networks chain. Each block takes about ten minutes to mine, and can hold 1MB of information. At current volumes, there are more than 1MB worth of transactions asking to be confirmed in that time. To solve this bottleneck, many in the Bitcoin community have called for increasing the block size to 2MB.
This sounds simple, but has