Bitcoin transaction volume has climbed to levels not seen since January 2018, potentially indicating growing adoption of the Bitcoin network. As we see this technology and the investment portion of the space continue to grow, reaching peak numbers, valuation cannot be far behind. Could this be the start of institutional investors? Could we see ETF approval and other landmark deals coming in the near future? The trends might point towards yes.
One of the more popular metrics used to gauge the ‘real use’ of a blockchain or dApp is the number of transactions taking place on the platform. Although it is not a perfect metric because of its susceptibility to activities such as wash transactions (analogous to wash trading), especially on platforms with low transaction fees, it still offers an alternative way to evaluate the number of users and the amount of activity taking place on a blockchain.
However, present-day transactions facilitated using the Bitcoin network could be larger if second-layer solutions such as Lightning Network are factored in.
In January of 2018, transaction volumes ranged from a low of 190,000 to a high of 425,000; for 2019, January saw transactions range from a low of 235,000 to a high of 350,000—according to data collected from BitInfoCharts.
Meanwhile, over 2018 transaction volume has grown steadily with less volatility in that volume. Month over month growth could indicate growing functional—rather than speculative—adoption, as suggested by several crypto enthusiasts on different social media outlets.
That said, there is not a clearly established link between the price of bitcoin and the number of transactions taking place on the platform. Although there are many that argue “utility” is the primary driver of price, it stills seems as if the price of bitcoin is primarily driven by speculative fervor. Consequently, whether transaction volumes will translate to sustained price growth is largely unknown.
When factoring what the future will bring for blockchain, we have to consider how the various elements that attract investors will affect the price and overall growth of the space. This would be more of an indicator of where things are going, not necessarily an attractor.