Friday April 8, 2016 0 comments
The growing popularity of Bitcoin – an alternative system of paying for goods and services that’s currently outside government control – is giving its supporters some tough issues to wrestle with.
The Bitcoin community is now spilt between two groups. One wants to make Bitcoin more efficient and mainstream so it can handle more transactions and overcome the growing delays caused by increasing numbers of users.
The other group wants to keep it pure, which means keeping it decentralized, relatively obscure and basically employed only by Bitcoin-savvy users.
Observers say the disagreement over Bitcoin’s future is hurting its public image and could derail its future development.
The essential problem, observers say, is that the Bitcoin network is getting too popular, with the number of transactions overwhelming the fledgling network’s ability to process them.
According to VoxTechnology blogger Timothy Lee, since it first appeared five years ago Bitcoin has captured the imagination of techies because it's the first global payment system that's not run by any government or financial institution.
“Instead, Bitcoin uses a novel peer-to-peer design in which all transactions are published in a shared global ledger known as the blockchain. Thousands of computers around the world keep their own separate copies of the blockchain and verify that each transaction complies with the rules of the Bitcoin system,” Lee wrote.
But Bitcoin is apparently becoming a victim of its own success.
Some want to increase the size of the blockchains so the system can more efficiently handle a rising wave of transactions, while others say that could potentially kill its essential under-the-radar functionality.
The ever-increasing numbers of Bitcoin users is threatening to soon clog a system not designed for that level of demand. And as Lee says in his blog, a battle has been raging between those who want to make it more accessible and user-friendly and those who want to keep it more esoteric and less likely to become centralized and controlled by large corporations or government regulation.
Bitcoin has endured many challenges since it first appeared, including arrests of some of its earliest founders and promoters. But the system has kept evolving through it all, and we believe it will overcome the current challenges it faces.
But how widespread it will eventually become in the daily buy-and-sell of the marketplace remains an open question.
For an excellent explanation of Bitcoin, click here.