Since Bitcoin burst onto the global stage in 2009, the world’s first blockchain has been deemed useless by cynics. And while these calls have only mounted as the crypto ecosystem has swelled, with BTC being proclaimed dead upwards of 400 times, this technology has also seen its success measures swell.

Even amid 2018’s downturn, which sent consumers, corporations, and institutions alike, fleeing for their lives, Bitcoin has posted some hefty volumes.

Bitcoin Trading & Transaction Stats Shouldn’t Be Scoffed At

Satoshi Capital Research, a leading crypto analytics firm headquartered in New York City, recently released tidbits of data about Bitcoin’s “network performance in 2018.” Surprisingly, the stats accentuated that the network continued to see use, even as BTC fell by upwards of 80%.

Through of series of tweets, Satoshi Capital, named after the first cryptocurrency’s pseudonymous founder, revealed that over $3.3 trillion — ~3.5% of global GDP — was transacted through the Bitcoin network in 2018. This is purportedly six times more volume than Paypal serviced, but less than half of what Visa, Alipay, and Wechat Pay transact each and every year. Regardless, the fact that Bitcoin has already ousted Paypal, Silicon Valley’s fintech darling, has already had some crypto diehards buzzing.

This led Satoshi Capital researchers to the conclusion that “BTC is not just a serious global currency, but a global payment system as well.” In other tweets, the research unit also revealed that over $2.2 trillion worth of Bitcoin trades were processed on exchanges in 2018 — “solidifying its position as a serious global currency.” BTC’s trading volume was $1.8 billion shy of the Chilean Peso’s, but three times more than that of the Argentine Peso.

What’s Next? 

Although $3.3 trillion is already jaw-dropping in and of itself, there’s still transactional upside for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. And many believe that this upside can be harnessed via the Lightning Network, a second-layer scaling solution that promotes immutable, low-cost, near-instant, scalable, borderless, and secure transactions that can be executed with the click of a button.

And while this sounds too good to be true, Lightning has already begun to garner traction in the broader crypto ecosystem.

Just recently, the network surpassed the 500 BTC milestone, meaning that at capacity, the scaling solution can process over ~$1.8 million in effectively instantaneous payments. This may not sound like a hefty sum, especially considering the aforementioned $3.3 trillion sum, but Lightning’s growth has been monumental.

In fact, Shapeshift chief executive Erik Voorhees, recently claimed that the development of the  Lightning Network was the crypto industry’s “most important story” in the entirety of 2018.

The Lightning Network isn’t any old show pony either. Crypto Graffiti, a well-known, yet pseudonymous Bitcoin-inspired artist, divulged that he/she auctioned a micro-painting of a black swan made of U.S. dollars (a likely nod to crypto’s classification on the global stage) on the Lightning Network. The piece left Crypto Graffiti’s hands for one-millionth of a Satoshi, currently valued at $0.000000037.

It still isn’t clear if Lightning will capture the attention of common Joes and corporate giants, but many optimists do hope so. And maybe, all Bitcoin needs is some hope.

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