I've seen that Bitcoin just supports ~3 TPS. This is 220 millions transactions per year. If every US citizen wanted to perform a single transaction on a year, they simply couldn't.

I've also read a lot of "Bitcoin's vision" that is completely incompatible with that fact.

Is there a plan or roadmap? What do you think will happen?


2 Answers 2


There is a distinction to be made between transactions (ie, transactions recorded on-chain) and payments (ie, a transferring of value between parties). Bitcoin can scale both by increasing the number of transactions per time, but also by increasing the number of payments per transaction.

The lightning network is a very interesting way of increasing the number of payments per transaction, the limit for number of payments is almost unbounded (there are channel liquidity considerations).

In any case, as a user what you should really care about is that you have some guarantee of ownership of your funds. You want control: to be able to spend those funds at your discretion, without any absolute dependance on or trust in a third party. Whether you get these guarantees through ownership of on-chain BTC, lightning-network BTC, or some other higher-layer solution is somewhat irrelevant (though there are additional security considerations in using higher layer networks like lightning. This is unavoidable: you incur all of the considerations of the base layer, plus the considerations of the higher layer). There is no reason that users cannot be on-boarded straight to lightning network, without any need to ever move their funds off lightning. The infrastructure may not be there quite yet, but development is ongoing at a fast pace, I think it will be very interesting to watch how lightning grows over the next decade.

Additionally, I think it is important to understand that even if bitcoin cannot scale to allow every person on earth to make on-chain transactions each day (or month, or year), that does not mean it is a failure or not useful. It just limits the usefulness of on-chain transactions to be higher-value settlements, and the limit of scaling then starts to depend on how many payments per transaction we can build infrastructure to allow.


Of course, it's raised constantly. Have you read about Taproot? It allows more efficient use of the block space. With the efficiency increasing, the transactions per X time will increase.

I've also read a lot of "Bitcoin's vision" that is completely incompatible with that fact.

While Satoshi had on-chain scaling in mind, Bitcoin is now scaling mostly off-chain (With SegWit as an example to on-chain scaling). Both are valid ways to scale and both will require each other in the long term.

Which fact?

  • I've read that devs think that Taproot will provide a 30-75% efficiency savings and only on multisig transactions. Even assuming the best case scenario (75%), that still is less than one transaction per quarter for every US citizen, assuming 0 users outside the US. Source: coindesk.com/…
    – dv1729
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 14:56
  • The long term goal is getting Lightning to scale.
    – MCCCS
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 15:22
  • As said above: That doesn't solve the problem, to use the Lightning Network you need to deposit some funds first and still use bitcoin on-chain transactions like a savings account. Few people would accept less than 1 transaction per year even on a "savings account".
    – dv1729
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 15:57

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