The Bitcoin Blockchain has now reached 100 gigabytes in size, a milestone figure in cryptocurrency history.
Bitcoin Usage is Growing
According to recent stats, the Bitcoin blockchain has reached the 100 GB size mark, seeing a growth of almost 90% in the course of 2016.
Such an increase in a short period of time says something about the adoption and use of Bitcoin in recent months, which has been growing at an exponential rate. However, it also says something about the problems that plague the Bitcoin network, such as scalability and community consensus.
Despite this increase in size, the number of Bitcoin nodes has managed to remain fairly stable since the beginning of the year. But even if 100 GB is not a worrying figure for most users, given the average capacity of an HDD and the ability to use Bitcoin through SPV clients and centralized wallets, growth in Bitcoin’s blockchain size can be seen as the result in the increasing number of transactions per block.
Although this is all great news for Bitcoin adoption, it also raises concerns regarding scalability as the average block size has also seen an increase over the course of 2016, reaching peaks like 0.978 MB or 97,8% of the current block size capacity.
A considerable portion of the mining community has been pushing for a bigger block size limit through the adoption of Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), an effort that seen a large rate of adoption but seems to have stagnated with only 392 BU nodes online at the moment.
Bitcoin CORE has also been working to provide off-chain solutions for increasing the capacity of the Bitcoin network, with almost 2,500 commits made in Github over the course of the year.
Despite the prospect of SegWit activation, which promises to help Bitcoin scale to allow more transactions per block, support for the upgrade has also slowed down since its release. There has been almost no growth since the beginning of December with currently 25% of the blocks signaling approval for the SegWit soft-fork. Keep in mind that Segwit must receive a 95% rate of approval by miners to actually implemented.
This lack of resolution can be seen as one of the most persistent problems in the Bitcoin community, which has so far failed to reach consensus on the most important issues within the network.
The democratic process through which Bitcoin carries itself may prove too unreliable on a large scale, which may cause one of Bitcoin’s greatest strength, its decentralized nature, to become a major roadblock on the way to mainstream adoption.
Bitcoin Price Continues to Surge
But despite all of these limitations, Bitcoin has seen an overwhelming growth on the price charts during 2016 outperforming every other currency, according to Bloomberg, sparking interest across several industries and governments.
Bitcoin adoption has seen an unparalleled growth in countries where capital restrictions are being applied, becoming an increasingly popular store-of-value in places like China and India, in particular.
Sitting at the $790 mark, Bitcoin is currently trading at its highest since February 2014.
It is unclear if the majority of investors is expecting the aforementioned network problems to be fixed or if they are simply unaware of them, but adoption shows no signs of slowing down as acquiring Bitcoin is becoming easier with each day.
Growing pains aside, the Bitcoin community has much reason to celebrate the incredible 8 year, 100 Gigabyte-long journey on the blockchain. Because amid the blockchain hype and noise in the past year, the longest and most secure blockchain today is, and has always been…Bitcoin.
Will Bitcoin’s blockchain continue to grow indefinitely? Let us know in the comments below!
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