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  • Writer's pictureCollin Christenbury

Why is the Bitcoin Network Moving Slow AF?!

Updated: May 26, 2023

Bitcoin has been making headlines recently due to its unprecedented rise in value and subsequent decline. Part of the reason for the drop in price is due to a significant network slowdown that has left many users frustrated. In this blog post, we will explore the recent Bitcoin network slowdown, as well as some related concepts such as BRC20, the Ethereum equivalent, and the Lightning Network.

The Bitcoin network operates by miners adding transactions to the blockchain. However, there is a limit to the number of transactions that can be added to a block, which has led to a backlog of unconfirmed transactions. As a result, users have experienced slower confirmation times and higher transaction fees.

The recent Bitcoin network slowdown can be attributed to several factors, including an increase in adoption, high demand for transactions, and changes in mining difficulty. With more people using Bitcoin, the number of transactions being processed has increased, which has led to a backlog.

Now, let's talk about BRC20, the ERC20 Ethereum equivalent. BRC20 is a technical standard used for creating tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain. Creation of these tokens is partly responsible for the congestion on the Bitcoin network. The meme coin $PEPE is a BRC20. If you've heard about the frenzy behind this coin, you get why the BTC network has been choking.

The Ethereum equivalent of BRC20 is ERC20. ERC20 is a technical standard used for creating tokens on the Ethereum network. Like BRC20, ERC20 tokens can be used to represent any asset or utility and can be traded on decentralized exchanges (DEXs) such as Uniswap.

Bitcoin purists are often against the use of BRC20 tokens and minting ordinal NFTs because they believe that they go against the original principles of Bitcoin. Bitcoin was created as a decentralized and trustless system, and some purists believe that introducing centralized tokens and NFTs that rely on a third party goes against that vision. Additionally, some argue that BRC20 tokens and ordinal NFTs are unnecessary complexities that detract from the simplicity and security of Bitcoin. Purists believe that Bitcoin should be used primarily as a means of value transfer, rather than for creating and trading other digital assets.

There is a solution though, the Lightning Network. The Lightning Network is a layer-two solution for the Bitcoin network that aims to increase the speed and reduce the cost of transactions. The Lightning Network works by allowing users to open payment channels between each other. Once a channel is open, users can transact with each other off-chain, without requiring confirmation from miners. But for some reason the users behind the transactions that are slowing down the network, aren't utilizing this solution.

Because transactions on the Lightning Network are off-chain, they are much faster and cheaper than on-chain transactions. Additionally, because payment channels can be opened and closed at any time, the Lightning Network is much more scalable than the Bitcoin network.

The recent Bitcoin network slowdown has been a frustrating experience for many users. However, there are solutions being developed, such as the Lightning Network, that aim to address the scalability and speed issues of the Bitcoin network. Additionally, concepts such as BRC20 tokens are making it easier for developers to create decentralized applications and tokens, which will only increase the adoption and usage of cryptocurrencies in the future. It is important to stay informed and educated about these developments to better understand the technology and make informed decisions when using it. Being in the know could mean the difference between generational wealth or not.


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