If you have recently used bitcoin, then chances are that you have noticed that transaction times have become significantly slower. In fact, during the last couple of days over 40,000 transactions simply idled on the blockchain, without getting the needed confirmation to go through.
The actual cause behind this delay is not yet known, but there is speculation surrounding it. While those involved with the blocksize debate believe that a higher number of transactions has taken place, and that not all could be included in their afferent blocks, others think that it has something to do with the fees included for each trades, while another group of people believe that this is a result of a systematic attack on the blockchain network.
However, the right answer may have to do something with the transactions fees. To put things better into perspective, once a transaction is submitted, it is placed in a queue, at the end of which, it goes through, after receiving all afferent confirmations. However, if a transaction with a higher fee is made later, it gets priority, and goes through before the other one. This works as a way of encouraging bitcoin users to include bigger fees, in order to support miners and the blockchain network. While technically, transactions with a fee equal to 0 can be sent whenever users wish to, there’s no guarantee that the transactions will end up going through.
Due to the so-called ‘bitcoin traffic jam’, many businesses were forced to stop accepting bitcoin for the time-being, or even switch up to various altcoins such as litecoin. Additionally, another major repercussion of this traffic jam is a drop of value in bitcoin’s price. In fact, according to price trackers, the price fell from roughly $440 on Monday, to $400 at the time of writing. This yet again proves how sensible bitcoin can be to unexpected changes, and once again ensures that price volatility is still a thing.
As time passed, most of the transactions were either cancelled, with the funds being returned to the original users, or went through, with major delays. At this moment in time, there are still a couple of thousands transactions blocked on the blockchain, yet the issue will surely be resolved by the end of the weekend.
Currently, there are two possible ways to prevent such traffic jams from happening again in the future. One would be to increase the blocksize limit, as this will allow more than 7 transactions to go through per second, while the other idea would be to include higher transaction fees whenever you send money through the blockchain, to ensure priority over the others in the queue.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, have you been affected by this issue? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.