Ethereum to reach Visa-like volumes in two years

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum platform had an interview with Naval Ravikant, CEO of AngelList during TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF17 conference. Despite Techcrunch taking some quotes out of context, both on Twitter and its website, it is a good interview with lots of insights from Vitalik.

During the interview, he talked about the volumes of transactions that are made on crypto-currency platforms. Bitcoin is currently delivering an average of 3 transactions a second, Ethereum is doing 5 a second. But these transaction levels are close to the peak of the system’s capacity. To scale to provide real volumes of transactions seen in the real world, it needs some more performance. For comparison, Uber is transacting 12 rides a second.

Currently, as every device is processing all transactions in the block-chain, this is the limit of the performance. Vitalik is looking at reducing the level of computation for each end-node, perhaps by having nodes process a subset the block-chain. This has some issues and challenges, such as the blockchain splitting. Disputes would need to process the entire blockchain to validate what did actually happen.

Buterin sees this implemented first in proof-of-concept deployments in the next year and a further year before it becomes mainstream to handle transactions volumes of the scale of Visa.

Vitalik also talked about blockchain security, and how math helps prove it. As part of the discussion, he also talked about China’s suspension of BitCoin trading.