Bitcoin has experienced increased congestion during the last month. According to the Twitter user Willy Woo, Bitcoin’s blocks were 95% full during the last days. However, the fees remained low and the network did not experience any kind of congestion.
Bitcoin Blocks Full But Low Fees
Everyone remembers when Bitcoin and other virtual currencies reached their all-time highs. Networks were totally congested, transactions were slow, and the fees grew to unexpectedly high levels. Since that moment, the market and the whole ecosystem changed.
Developer teams started to work on different solutions to scale crypto networks. Bitcoin worked on the Lightning Network (LN) and Ethereum on other off-chain solutions. At the same time, support for Segregated Witness (SegWit) on Bitcoin’s blockchain grew to new levels.
Because of this situation, 95% of Bitcoin blocks were full but there was no congestion. Back in December 2017, blocks were 85% and the congestion was massive. Bitcoin transaction fees are close to $0.1 dollars, and back in December, they reached $55.
Meanwhile… during the bear market no less… Bitcoin's blocks peak above 95% full without anyone noticing, the fees and confirm times remain nominal. Bitcoin of 2018 is not Bitcoin of 2017. The protocol is quietly improving. pic.twitter.com/ZgtpBnQFbJ
— Willy Woo (@woonomic) October 20, 2018
The surprising thing is that Bitcoin is currently in a bear market. Segregated Witness and Lightning Network have clearly helped Bitcoin to keep with low fees. Although it did not reach the whole market, the Lightning Network continues to grow. At the time of writing, there are 3,790 nodes on the LN and the network capacity is currently able to handle 112 BTC.
In the future, the LN would allow Bitcoin to scale and be able to process millions of transactions per second. Additionally, the fees would remain low rather than increase.
Despite the fact that Bitcoin has performed very well during the last days, some users are worried about what can happen when the blocks become full. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) for example, aims at scaling Bitcoin increasing block size. Nonetheless, Bitcoin Cash did not receive the necessary support from the community to replace Bitcoin.
It will be important to follow how Bitcoin will be working during the next bull run. Will it be able to support a larger number of transactions without congestion? Will fees rise again to unexpected levels? These questions must be answered to know how Bitcoin is improving over time.
Carlos is an international relations’ analyst specializing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Since 2017, Carlos has written extensively for UseTheBitcoin and other leading cryptocurrency sites; with over 2,000 articles published.