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How does this scale?

How does this scale?

Posted Nov 12, 2010 5:22 UTC (Fri) by JohnLenz (subscriber, #42089)
In reply to: How does this scale? by jgarzik
Parent article: Bitcoin: Virtual money created by CPU cycles

I don't think you understand how far you must scale. From here, it looks like Visa handled an average of 8,442 transactions per second in 2008 and built a new datacenter to handle up to 10,000 transactions per second. Also from the article, Visa handles only about 33% of all transactions.

So using your numbers, 1 MB block gives about 7.71 transactions per second. Scaling from 7.71 transactions per second to 8,000 per second? So just to handle the volume visa saw in 2008, each block must be over one gigabyte? And this is only the US. By its nature, there is only a single bitcon currency for the whole world so 8,000 transactions per second is on the far low end.

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How does this scale?

Posted Nov 12, 2010 8:31 UTC (Fri) by jgarzik (subscriber, #8364) [Link]

The bitcoin community is well aware of Visa and Paypal transaction rates.

A gigabyte every ten minutes is quite doable for modern machines and networks, and even more so in an imaginary future where bitcoin transaction rates equal Visa transaction rates.

At those rates, it's not hobbyists running the P2P network anymore; from the transaction fees alone, you're looking at competition among professional players with major investments in the network.

How does this scale?

Posted Nov 12, 2010 21:30 UTC (Fri) by droundy (subscriber, #4559) [Link]

I'm a bit skeptical. You're talking about 1.7M per second that needs to be sent to every client on the network, right? Since as I understand, each client needs to examine all the blocks to verify the integrity of the chain. And can clients really afford to compute the hash of a couple of megabytes per second? Or would most clients just trust someone else to verify the integrity of the bitcoin system?

How does this scale?

Posted Nov 13, 2010 0:34 UTC (Sat) by jgarzik (subscriber, #8364) [Link]

Drawing an analogy to the Gnutella network...

At Visa/Paypal transaction rates, most bitcoin clients will be leaf nodes, that send and receive transactions, but don't bother with the block chain.

Beefy ultrapeer nodes would be the ones storing transactions, building blocks, monitoring and verifying the block chain, etc. They are incentivized to do this with transaction fees, which non-generating leaf nodes would not receive.

How does this scale?

Posted Nov 19, 2010 22:26 UTC (Fri) by creighto (guest, #71377) [Link]

If the Bitcoin network ever reaches a level even close to that of Visa, then there will be numerable finacial institutions with a clear, vested interest in the security of the system; who are very likely to run dedicated servers (if not entire server farms) to keep the system secure and competing institutions honest. It will still be possible for an individual to dedicate his own resources to set up such a server, but most users will not need to participate.

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