Today, Bitcoin’s whitepaper, authored by the infamous and pseudonymous coder and thinker extraordinaire Satoshi Nakamoto turns 11; that is, 11 years ago to this day, Satoshi published the first public-facing document outlining a decentralized ledger and money system that he called “Bitcoin.”
Serendipitously, on the same day, the blockchain achieved a key milestone.
As pointed out by Yassine Elmandjra, a crypto asset analyst at markets research/fund management firm ARK Invest, the Bitcoin network has now seen $1 billion worth of fees paid. To put it more simply, all Bitcoin transactions thus far have incurred an aggregate fee of $1 billion. Crazy.
What’s even more notable about this number is that it was all accomplished with a decentralized system, with fees being distributed to a global group of miners that voluntarily maintain this blockchain for monetary incentive.
Cumulative fee revenue may not mean much in and of itself, so here’s a way to put it that may put this statistic into perspective:
Tuur Demeester, the founding partner of Adamant Capital, framed this statistic best when he wrote on Twitter today that this effectively means that “$1B funding the world’s strongest firewall.”
Not Ready for Consumer Payments
While Bitcoin is evidently being used, hence the abovementioned statistic, it isn’t ready for consumer payments just yet.
Jack Dorsey, who is the CEO of both Twitter and Square — two companies that have a relatively large cryptocurrency demographic — argued that Bitcoin isn’t ready for mass adoption. He stated that it isn’t “functional as a currency”, seemingly making reference to the base layer processing speed of seven transactions per second, which pales in comparison to the (centralized) PayPal, Visa, and so on. Dorsey added:
“The peaks and troughs are like an investment asset and are equivalent to gold. What we need to do is make it more usable and accessible as a currency, but it’s not there yet.”
Dorsey’s comment has been backed up by Samson Mow of Blockstream. Mow stated that seeing that at the base layer, Bitcoin takes an average of 10 minutes to process transactions, sometimes upwards of three hours, it isn’t ready to be used in the context of global currency. “You don’t design a payment system that takes 10 minutes to settle on average,” Mow quipped.
But, solutions are on their way. Bakkt is soon expected to launch a cryptocurrency consumer payment application that will work in Starbucks. It isn’t clear how Bitcoin fits into this equation, however, but the company is presumably making the leading cryptocurrency a focus. That would make sense, right?