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Transactions Per Second (TPS)

Transactions Per Second (TPS)

Beginner

In the context of blockchains, transactions per second (TPS) refers to the number of transactions that a network is capable of processing each second.

The approximate average TPS of the聽Bitcoin blockchain is about 5 鈥 though this may vary at times.聽Ethereum, in contrast, can handle roughly double that amount.

The development of technologies that increase the transaction rate of blockchains has been an important area of research over the years. These decentralized networks pose completely new challenges in terms of their ability to scale for increased demand.

This challenge isn鈥檛 purely about increasing TPS. Centralized databases are already capable of handling thousands of transactions each second. VISA, for example, handles around 1,500-2000 transactions each second. So why not just use these solutions? Well, the main problem is that聽Bitcoin,聽Ethereum, and other blockchains aim to compete with that聽while聽still maintaining a high degree of decentralization.

Decentralization comes at the cost of performance and security. So, these scalability solutions not only need to increase the performance of the network but, at the same time, also maintain all the other desirable properties of blockchain. Otherwise, blockchain isn鈥檛 really anything more than an inefficient database.

It鈥檚 important to note that if a blockchain has high TPS, it isn鈥檛 necessarily superior to other blockchains with lower TPS. Many blockchain projects boast about their high TPS numbers. However, it鈥檚 almost certain that such performance was achieved by sacrificing other important aspects of the network. For example, at any given moment,聽Bitcoin has thousands of nodes distributed across the globe running the Bitcoin software. A blockchain with only 10-20 nodes could easily outperform Bitcoin, but it could hardly be called decentralized or even distributed.
If you鈥檇 like to get a deeper dive into the topic, check out聽Blockchain Scalability - Sidechains and Payment Channels.
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