Bitcoin is too slow?

Norwegian 🇳🇴

Audio by @DelioPera

“Bitcoin is too slow to buy a cup of coffee. No one can wait 10 minutes. It can’t ever be used as money. We need something faster like <insert favourite altcoin scam here>”

When someone gives 100,000,000 USD to someone else, usually it’s done electronically. No physical value is being moved initially. It can be done instantly, but it is not final settlement. Final settlement is irreversible. The balances of banks between each other are settled through the central bank, or with physical assets – the bank may hire an armoured truck with two security guards with guns, and they move 100,000,000 of cash or gold to another bank. It’s expensive; it’s slow.

When someone buys coffee with a VISA card, the transaction happens immediately. No physical delivery happens. Just numbers on a central computer somewhere. Someone’s bank owes someone else’s bank a few more dollars. That’s fine, it’s not a big risk. Who knows when re-balancing happens between VISA and merchants and their respective banks? It doesn’t matter. The point is it’s not with each sale, but aggregated. And the eventual re-balancing requires an armoured truck, and it is slow and expensive.

A Bitcoin transaction is as secure and as final as delivery with an armoured truck from one bank to another. In fact, it is MORE secure. Especially if you wait for 6 confirmations (around 1 hour). 

So the important thing is to compare like with like. A Bitcoin transaction takes 10 minutes or an hour if you want more reassurance. Compared to many days in the banking system. Bitcoin is not too slow. It is unreasonable to place the condition, “Bitcoin final settlement must be as fast as VISA”, for Bitcoin to be considered a success.

What about small payments? Again, compare like with like. A VISA payment takes seconds. It’s a layer two system on top of the base layer, fiat money. For Bitcoin, the layer two payment system is the Lightning Network, which is just as fast and more secure than VISA. You don’t have to use it, but for small and fast payments, the Lightning Network is ideal.


Static Lightning Address:

On-chain or Lightning