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Author Topic: How many transactions per second can the bitcoin network sustain?  (Read 3987 times)
stakhanov
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February 28, 2011, 07:40:01 PM
 #1

It seems that there is a limited number of transactions that can be included in a block. I'd like to have an idea of how much the bitcoin network can scale up?
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SmokeTooMuch
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February 28, 2011, 07:56:53 PM
 #2

well you can't make a per second statement, since, in theory, their could be thousands of blocks in one second.

and because all of the transactions in one block get processed at once, it's hard to say how many transactions per second there are.

I guess you are looking for something like this:
"How many transaction fit in one block ?" and "Is there a maximum of blocks per second in the network ?"

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barbarousrelic
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February 28, 2011, 08:29:29 PM
 #3

well you can't make a per second statement, since, in theory, their could be thousands of blocks in one second.

and because all of the transactions in one block get processed at once, it's hard to say how many transactions per second there are.

I guess you are looking for something like this:
"How many transaction fit in one block ?" and "Is there a maximum of blocks per second in the network ?"
Isn't there an average number if blocks generated per unit time that will roughly remain constant over long enough time periods? (as difficulty adjusts to compensate for changes in network computing power)

This answer, combined with

"How many transactions can fit in one block ?"

should get us close to the answer we're looking for.

edit: according to the FAQ

Quote
The average rate of block creation in the whole system is 6 / hour.

So the rate is 6*(max transactions per block) per hour.

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Mike Hearn
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February 28, 2011, 09:03:04 PM
 #4

The network can probably sustain around 80 tps right now, assuming some significant fraction of nodes are running on single core machines. The bottleneck is the ECDSA verification of inbound transactions.
jgarzik
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February 28, 2011, 09:25:32 PM
 #5

You'll hit maximum block size, before ECDSA becomes a bottleneck.

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stakhanov
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February 28, 2011, 10:11:57 PM
 #6

The network can probably sustain around 80 tps right now, assuming some significant fraction of nodes are running on single core machines. The bottleneck is the ECDSA verification of inbound transactions.

Wouldn't this be reached very quickly if the bitcoin system starts having any kind of success? How could we improve that rate?
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February 28, 2011, 10:48:33 PM
 #7

80 transactions per second is 6.9 million transactions per day.  That is a LOT.

PayPal was doing about 2 million transactions per day in 2008; if there are three times as many bitcoin transactions as PayPal transactions in a few years that would be a very good problem to have, and I'm confident "we" would figure out how to deal with lots of transactions.

How often do you get the chance to work on a potentially world-changing project?
stakhanov
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February 28, 2011, 10:56:21 PM
 #8

80 transactions per second is 6.9 million transactions per day.  That is a LOT.

PayPal was doing about 2 million transactions per day in 2008; if there are three times as many bitcoin transactions as PayPal transactions in a few years that would be a very good problem to have, and I'm confident "we" would figure out how to deal with lots of transactions.


Thanks for putting things in perspective. I agree, if bitcoins start generating more transactions than paypal, it will already be a huge success, and we will all be millionaires Smiley
randomguy7
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February 28, 2011, 11:04:17 PM
 #9

How big would the blocks get when we hit that limit? Won't this first become a problem?
jgarzik
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February 28, 2011, 11:08:57 PM
 #10

See this thread for discussion of how block size limit caps transaction rate.

The block size limit caps bitcoin at 463 transactions/minute, or ~7 transactions per second.


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Mike Hearn
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March 01, 2011, 12:17:25 PM
 #11

Yeah, there's an artificial limit on block size which can be removed/put off by tweaking a constant and having people upgrade. It's there for valid reasons though.

Increasing CPU capacity of the network is a thornier problem, it can be increased a bit with a software upgrade but not just cranked up arbitrarily like block size can. ECDSA batch verification might change this dramatically.

BitCoin can scale, but indeed I am wrong about where it grinds to a halt today. Right now block size is the limit, as jgarzik says.
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March 02, 2011, 04:43:45 AM
 #12

That a good idea.
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