The number of stuck bitcoin transactions has spiked to an all-time high of 160,000, according to blockchain.info, doubling the mempool size from around 60MB to 120MB, the highest it has ever been before.
It’s not clear what caused the spike, but it comes at a time of increased bitcoin volatility. The currency has seen a price appreciation of some $600 in just two weeks, rising from around $1,200 to more than $1,800.
That rise seems to have recently stopped, with the currency falling by around $150 yesterday, down to $1728, before somewhat recovering today, rising to $1818, around $70 below its recent all-time high according to Coinbase data.
It is probable that bitcoin holders, who might have been paying no attention, may have tried to realize their gain after the significant price rise, thus potentially leading to a rush, which, like 9 AM motorways, seems to have led to congestion and stuck traffic.
Bitcoin, of course, is digital and is meant to be far better than a motorway in handling traffic, but the currency has itself been stuck in an endless debate on how to increase capacity to handle the increased traffic.
The debate really boils down to whether to add another track layer and expand the motorway sideways – that being the Bitcoin Unlimited approach – or whether to create a new motorway on top of the current motorway – that being the second layer segregated witnesses (segwit) approach.
As far as drivers are concerned they hardly care as long as they can move. Most other observers probably think the solution is obviously both. Segwit supporters, however, despise Bitcoin Unlimited and think if another base layer track is added the whole motorway will somehow collapse because we can’t keep adding tracks forever.
So, they are saying we should add no track, keep the motorway at the current two lanes even though it can handle 4 or maybe 5, and build a second motorway on top. However, Bitcoin Unlimited supporters say if the second layer is added without base layer additions, then the second layer will collapse (become ripple like centralized with AML/KYC hubs.)
Now, for two years, they have been arguing with each other in a manner that boils down to “no, you.” With neither side seemingly aware that what they both are doing is not adding a base track nor adding a second layer, instead, creating even bigger congestions that are incentivizing investments and expansions in far faster and convenient trains and airlines as well as new tech which in this metaphor sort of acts like flying cars (ethereum).
So, keep up the arguing bitcoiners because it is absolutely critical that only one option is implemented (it’s not) even if that means neither is implemented (well, that’s just…). In the meantime, did anyone see tradeblock saying 0.0 bitcoin transactions per second? Did the mempool spike temporarily crash their node?
Featured image from Shutterstock.