Technical Roadblock Might Shatter Bitcoin Dreams

The total value of the digital currency Bitcoin is over $5 billion, reflecting how some people think it will one day become widely useful. But a new analysis of the software that powers the currency concludes that Bitcoin needs a complete redesign if it is to support more than the paltry number of transactions that take place today.

That suggests that the people, companies, and investors who are banking on the currency becoming widely used must overcome fundamental technical challenges that currently have no known solutions, not just the economic and cultural issues associated with a currency independent of any government.

The findings, from a large group of researchers mostly affiliated with Cornell University, also offer new perspective on an acrimonious debate that has recently riven the world of Bitcoin (see “The Looming Problem That Could Kill Bitcoin”).

Factions in the community are arguing over proposals to adjust Bitcoin’s software so it can handle more than a measly seven transactions a second across the whole world. Yet no tweak to Bitcoin could allow transactions at a scale close to that of conventional payment processors such as Visa without compromising the digital currency’s decentralized design, says Read more ... source: TheBitcoinNews