Thanks to the explosion in popularity of cryptocurrencies toward the end of 2017, it has become painfully apparent that the current state of the Bitcoin network is not sufficient. While many assert that this has been fixed by the last updates made, the truth is that this is just a temporary band-aid. Anyone who uses the network frequently will tell you that transaction times and fees are still very inconsistent. Sometimes transactions are very fast and for a very fair fee, but in some instances, you may have to wait a while for confirmation.
The Bitcoin development team, also known as Bitcoin Core is made up of a large open source developer community. They joined forces and resources to work on several key upgrades to the network that could fix its pertinent issues. The Beta version of the Lightning Network and Segwit have already been launched, with hope that they will increase the network’s efficiency going forward. Continuous effort is being made to increase the speed, efficiency and fees of Bitcoin transactions.
While some in the crypto community have reservations about the Lightning Network, and how it works, it is optional. It can also provide payment solutions for merchants that need to accept instant Bitcoin payments. Users that are not interested in using the Lightning Network can still benefit from old fashioned cryptocurrency transactions with lower fess. And with a combination of Segwit and MAST, the weight on the network will be reduced significantly. This is good news for those who need to actually use their Bitcoin to make purchases, and once the Lightning Network is in full swing, it’s likely that more merchants will begin paying attention to it.
MAST – Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree
MAST, an acronym for Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree, would allow for the reduction in the size of data held within a block. Using this system, it will be possible to confirm the validity of data without having to actually download all of it. It also makes the categorization of data more efficient, all of which improves the efficiency of Bitcoin transactions. This proposal will hopefully allow for the Bitcoin network to scale itself to accommodate the ever-growing queue of transactions from the growing number of users.
This is a huge deal for Bitcoin. Despite enjoying more adoption than any other cryptocurrency has lagged behind as a useful payment method. Leading some merchants to abandon it as a payment method because increasing fees and late confirmations make it impracticable for them.