Bitcoin has a major problem, and we can't ignore it any longer...

The Bitcoin network is overwhelmed and there's no way to downplay it - we have a problem.

At time of publishing, there were over 80,000 transactions yet to be confirmed - and earlier, that number was over 130,000.

There goes the idea of Bitcoin (as it is today) replacing cash.  No business is going to wait possibly hours between making a sale, and receiving the payment.

Everyone needs to accept this reality.

So, let's talk solutions.

Bitcoin's block size is 1MB, so maybe picture a pipe 1-inch wide, and each transaction is a quart of water.

Currently, the pipe is too small for the amount of transactions that need to flow through it.

This was the idea behind SegWit2x that was proposed, then canceled last week, which would have doubled the block size to 2MB and in theory double the speed of the network.  However, developers and the bitcoin community couldn't reach consensus on implementing it. It wouldn't be enough to be considered a true solution to this situation anyway. So, scratch that.

Now, Bitcoin Cash is trying to jump into the middle of the crisis, boasting an 8MB block size, but hitting the same problem SegWit2x did - not everyone's on board.

That brings us to what may be the best, and only viable solution on the table - the lightening network!

It sounds cool, and it is cool - because it could mean INSTANTLY verified transactions.

How? By removing the biggest step from the middle of the transaction.

First, the transaction is purely peer to peer, with the transaction occurring on a "private channel" - then only after the transaction is complete, would the final results be sent to the blockchain to be recorded.

Using the same amount of data available on the network now, much more efficiently!

It looks like that's where all this is heading.  Lighting Network technology is currently being tested on the Litecoin network, and they have completed successful test transactions.

Litecoin founder Charlie Lee outlined his "Vision for Lightning Networks On Litecoin And Bitcoin" here.

The next few weeks will be vital, and could determine how Bitcoin transactions will work far into the future!

Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk