Although Bitcoin is number one cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, reputation and real-world usage, the performance level of its transactions are actually quite poor. In fact, there are many other cryptocurrencies that are faster, cheaper and more scalable.
Firstly, it takes 10 minutes to confirm a transaction on the Bitcoin network. Other coins such as Ethereum can verify transactions in around 16 seconds.
Secondly, Bitcoin fees are now much higher than they used to be and now cost dollars rather than cents.
Thirdly, and probably most importantly, Bitcoin can only confirm 7 transactions per second. This is Bitcoin’s level of scalability at present, and it is a big problem. For example, NEO and Ripple are able to confirm thousands of transactions per second, so if Bitcoin is to become a global payments system then it must improve technically.
A company called Lighting Labs (which has received investments from senior individuals from Twitter, PayPal and Litecoin) are very close to releasing a protocol that will significantly improve the performance of Bitcoin transactions. Known as the Lighting Network upgrade, it is believed that the protocol could allow the Bitcoin network to increase its maximum transaction limit to millions per second.
Furthermore, transactions will also be much faster and cheaper. If the Lighting Network is successful then it should have a very positive effect on the price of Bitcoin.