Opinions differ when it comes to the future and potential of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The full Bitcoin Immediate platform review features the advantages and potentials of Bitcoin. For some, it is the payment system of the future, as it offers the possibility of direct transactions independent of banks. Others, however, are more skeptical. They doubt that Bitcoin and Co are stable and scalable enough to seriously compete with the established financial system.
How scalable is the Bitcoin system?
So far, Bitcoin has mainly had advantages where money is to be transferred across national borders. Because in the classic banking system, at least three to four banks are involved in such a foreign transfer and the whole thing takes several days. The same transaction using Bitcoins, on the other hand, takes only minutes and takes place without intermediaries. However, all those who are pursuing criminal intentions are also taking advantage of this at the moment.
But the Bitcoin system and its blockchain are still rather manageable – and in terms of the volume of their transactions not even remotely comparable to that of a banking system. If more financial transactions are to be processed via the Bitcoin system in the future, the speed of transactions must increase above all. Because so far, the around 100,000 computer nodes of the Bitcoin miners need around ten minutes for a transaction block.
“Therefore, the volume and speed of international payment transactions could not be mapped using bitcoins,” says Salomon Fiedler from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. However, Bitcoin miners see it differently. They do see opportunities to increase the speed and volume of transactions – for example, by processing more transactions per block.
Are cryptocurrencies stable enough?
Another factor is the stability of Bitcoin and Co. “So far, strong fluctuations in the purchasing power of cryptocurrencies have made it difficult to use them as an exchange medium for larger parts of the population,” say Fiedler and his colleagues from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. “Because buyers and sellers need to be able to predict, at least in the short term, whether today’s tomorrow’s trade will still be profitable or not.”
However, she and other experts see the strong fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin more as “teething troubles” of the system. “Once the crypto gold rush ends, with people using cryptocurrency primarily as an object of speculation, then the volatility will likely subside,” said Fiedler and his colleagues. In her estimation, Bitcoin and Co could then gain in importance for payment transactions – especially if enough people are dissatisfied with the established banking system.
The question of energy
By then at the latest, however, the energy problem is likely to get even worse. It is still unclear how much the electricity demand for Bitcoin and Co will increase if the number of users and transactions increases. Because the mining computers are also becoming more and more powerful and energy-efficient. On the other hand, the algorithms of the system ensure that the mining of bitcoins and thus the creation of new blocks remains complex despite technological advances.
The path to “green” bitcoins is at least one way to make the cryptocurrency less harmful to the climate and thus more sustainable. But if the system continues to grow, the remaining reserves of excess electricity from renewable sources could also shrink. The Bitcoin miners would then again compete more strongly with other infrastructures on the electricity market.
At this point at the latest, cryptocurrencies also require social decisions: “As a society, we have to ask ourselves what an international financial system is worth to us and how many resources we want to allocate to it,” says Mathis Schultz from Northern Bitcoin.