On the February 23, 2016, bitcoin saw the highest number of bitcoin transactions so far in a single day. According to a tracking graph on Blockchain.info, there were about 260,578 transactions in the day.
The highest peak before this was in October, 2015, when about 241,346 transactions were carried out in a single day.
This February surge came just a few days after representatives of the bitcoin mining community, core developers, and entrepreneurs met in Hong Kong and arrived at a consensus on how to move forward with scaling the bitcoin block size.
It is easy to interpret the rise in transactions as a result of the confidence that the consensus has injected into the bitcoin market.
For some time now, it has been a general belief that the seemingly never-ending wrangling within the bitcoin community on how to scale the bitcoin network is affecting the image of bitcoin negatively.
The network always responds appropriately
The metric that has always been used to point this out is the movement of the price of bitcoin. A typical example is when Mike Hearn, one of the core developers, left the project in January 2016 and described it as a failed experiment in a hard hitting article.
Hearn had proposed Bitcoin XT as the solution to the scaling problem, but it did not receive support from the bitcoin community. The price of bitcoin plummeted by about 20% after his exit announcement. Of course, the situation was made worse when major mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times and The Guardian echoed his message.
The bitcoin price has also appropriately responded when there has been good news in the scaling debate. As a matter of fact, after the announcement of the scaling consensus in Hong Kong, the price of bitcoin rose by a significant margin.
But that said, other metrics are apparently also very telling when it comes to the performance of bitcoin, but they don’t always get much attention. These include the number of wallets, trading volumes, and the number of transactions carried out.
It is a critical time for the number of bitcoin transactions
The number of transaction should receive a lot of attention from the bitcoin community — especially at a time when the number of transaction is at the center of the ongoing debate on the future of the cryptocurrency.
Indeed, it has been argued that, for bitcoin to be able to compete with the likes of Visa now and in the future, it has to facilitate many more transactions per second. Everybody agrees that with bigger blocks, more transactions will be possible, meaning less delay in confirmation.
While the number of bitcoin transaction has generally been on the upward trend, there are always peaks and lows. These, like the price rises and falls, coincide with particular events inside and outside the bitcoin ecosystem.
Looking at the current peak in the number of transactions from another angle, it could be an apt wake-up call to the bitcoin community to hasten the process of scaling before the current block size overflows.
Rupert Hackett is Community Manager at BuyaBitcoin.com.au. He specializes in the digital currency and digital payment space and is currently studying the world’s first Master’s in digital currencies alongside entrepreneurship. He writes for multiple bitcoin and tech websites and regularly blogs for BuyaBitcoin.com.au.