Due to the sudden rise in bitcoin transactions over the past few days, the bitcoin network is currently undergoing a major backlog. This increase has mostly be due to the ongoing Greek debt crisis, which prompted the implementation of capital controls in the country and funds being moved to other currencies.
Banks are closed and the stock market has halted trading in Greece while the European Central Bank has declined to increase its emergency funding to the country. Greeks are facing a potential exit from the euro zone and a return to a worthless drachma, which explains why there has been a lot of capital flight towards bitcoin.
Bitcoin Network Backlog
At one point, there were over 50,000 pending transactions, as computers in the bitcoin network struggled to keep up with the surge in volumes. It didn’t help that verification has been taking longer than usual, as the block size limit has put constraints on the number of transactions that can be processed at a time.
Some analysts say that this has exposed the weakness in the bitcoin network, which has also encountered a bit of a glitch when two different versions of the software had been running on computers in the ecosystem.
As of this writing, the backlog has declined to less than 30,000 transactions and the sizes have been as small as 0.0001 bitcoin being sent repeatedly, possibly as people are trying to see if the backlog has been resolved.
In the future, however, there is a need to adjust the block size limit in order to accommodate larger volumes and to shorten the transaction verification time as bitcoin continues to seek mainstream acceptance. Some propose an increase to 8MB while others say that 20MB would work better, although there also has been a suggestion for the implementation of a Bitcoin Lightning Network, which is in development to implement hashed time-lock contracts between people.