Ethereum’s network processed 608,695 transactions yesterday, almost 100,000 more than just days before and nearly twice the level of bitcoin’s public blockchain.
Etherdelta, a decentralized exchange, accounts for 10% of all transactions according to ETH Gas Station, therefore around 60,000. While Shapeshift, an altcoin exchange, accounts for just above 1% of it at around 7,000.
Fees have increased slightly to 1 cent from sub-pennies, but orphan rates, or as ethereans call them uncle blocks (blocks that are found near same time with one of them meant to be discarded, but in eth are kept and given some credit) remain at the usual level, with Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s inventor, stating:
“The uncle rate, probably the best indicator for how much the blockchain is struggling under the load, does not seem to have moved up by much.”
The ethereum’s network appears to be operating under normal conditions while it reaches the highest level of transactions for any decentralized public blockchain.
With this considerable increase suggesting significant growth for the network as transaction numbers tend to correlate with price.
Which causes which is not clear, but the reason for the correlation is fairly intuitive as more transactions indicates more users, which would probably translate to higher levels of demand.
Interestingly, that correlation has been detached for bitcoin in March this year without affecting price. That may be because of the sorting by fee mechanism in bitcoin, which might manage to still meet growing demand, but it might also indicate price has been detached from utility.
With a third potential explenation being that the market simply expects that aspect to be resolved, therefore has not taken it into account.
Bitcoin has spent three years arguing over how to solve this sidewaying capacity supply, with no solution to date, leading to current fees of around $4.
While, at the same time, ethereum has laid out a roadmap for Visa levels scalability through sharding, with initial solutions potentially live by summer.
Casper, ethereum’s Proof of Stake upgrade, is to launch its testnet soon, according to an eth developer, and might even be incorporated in the next Constantinople upgrade.
Ethereum, therefore, might be able to keep ahead of this stupendous growth with an eth developer estimating that the network can currently comfortably handle 1337K transactions, that is 1.3 million, but could handle 2 million.
Thereafter it would start struggling, adding some urgency to Casper, which is initially to be implemented as a Proof of Work and Proof of Stake hybrid because it is easier and can be done now.
Eth will then transition to full PoS, followed by the first implementation of sharding potentially as early as 2019. At which point, accounting for its follow-up refinements, it could be said that the scalability problem has been solved to a relevant extent.