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Bitcoin Processes First 1 Billion Transactions in 15 Years, Faster Than Visa’s 25-Year Timeline

Published May 6, 2024 2:31 PM
Shraddha Sharma
Published May 6, 2024 2:31 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin processed its first 1 billion transactions, reaching the milestone in just 15 years.
  • Analysts distinguish blockchain efficiency and growth in network usage from gold.
  • Bitcoin whales have been on the move from dormant wallets to book profits. 

Bitcoin has achieved another milestone by processing its first billion transactions within just 15 years of its inception. The development signals Bitcoin’s growing adoption and potential to challenge traditional financial systems like Visa.

Crypto commentators argue that Bitcoin’s rapid growth as a credible alternative to established financial mechanisms comes as a result of the digital era. As Bitcoin continues to evolve in 2024, the year could mark its capability to outpace existing systems while distinguishing itself from gold.

Bitcoin’s Rapid Growth 

Bitcoin has processed 1 billion transactions in just 15 years, reflecting growing usage in the network. Unlike Visa, which relied on traditional banking infrastructures and the gradual adoption of credit card usage over decades, Bitcoin has benefited from the rapid spread of internet technology and a growing appetite for decentralized financial solutions. 

The achievement not only marks a significant milestone for Bitcoin itself but also reflects the changing tech sector where digital currencies are increasingly seen as viable alternatives to established financial systems.

X Users have taken to the social platform to argue about the appropriateness and fairness of comparing traditional payment networks like Visa with newer technologies such as Bitcoin. One X user points out that Visa was founded in 1958, a time when everything was analog and digital banking was non-existent until 1994. The argument is that the technology and the tools available at Visa’s inception were vastly different, limiting its initial capabilities and rate of adoption compared to technologies born in the digital age. 

Researcher Matteo Pellegrini agrees that the comparison might be unfair or “silly,” but adds that Visa initially operated in what was effectively a monopoly until the 1970s.  In contrast, Bitcoin and similar technologies face a highly competitive and fragmented market. A market with numerous payment solutions like MasterCard, PayPal, Venmo, and Alipay. This creates a much more challenging environment for Bitcoin as it has to distinguish itself.

Stablecoin Competition Different

As Bitcoin poses competition to networks like Visa, so does stablecoins. According to commentators, major companies accepted Bitcoin for transactions, but the drawbacks for small tractions remain. It still has high fees and a slow confirmation time, giving an advantage to stablecoins. However, research  has found that 90% of stablecoin transaction volume might be driven by automated bots performing functions like arbitrage and liquidity provisioning, rather than human-initiated settlements.

While the transaction volume provides good news for Bitcoin’s scalability, some might also say that Visa is a more mature network. But, it can also be argued that Bitcoin’s decentralized network with checks and balances for transactions can reduce speed, thus reducing the number of transactions.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin transactions have also distinguished itself from gold. Bitcoin is often dubbed digital gold but according  to litigator and BTC proponent Joe Carlasare, “Gold is a rock. It has no network.

Current State of Bitcoin’s Market

At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price stands close to $64K. Despite a decline from its all-time high of $73,790 in March, Bitcoin maintains a strong market capitalization of $1.2t. 


The network supports 19,600 reachable nodes, with 60% of them being Tor nodes, enhancing privacy and security.

Amid Bitcoin’s new milestone, a dormant whale since 2011 has recently become active and reportedly transferred a staggering $44,000,000 worth of Bitcoin. The acquisition price provides an extraordinary return of 3,250,000%, unlike any traditional asset or gold. 

In terms of transactions, CoinGecko notes that several exchanges handle substantial volumes of transactions with Binance topping the list. 

The BTC/USDT pair  on Binance saw a 24-hour volume of around $1.89b, representing about 9% of the market, while the BTC/FDUSD pair reports even higher volumes at around $3.12b, which constitutes about 14.87% of the market. Kraken follows with two pairs, BTC/USD and BTC/EUR, managing lower volumes with BTC/USD trading at $130.94m (0.62% of the market) and BTC/EUR at $33.43m (0.16% of the market).

Bitcoin’s Path Ahead

Bitcoin’s journey to processing a billion transactions in just fifteen years—a fraction of the time it took Visa—reflects not only growth but also a digital shift towards speed, efficiency, and decentralization.

As Bitcoin’s relevance in mainstream finance grows and its network continues to mature, the adoption will increase as a result. Therefore, the milestone is more than a numeric achievement as it signifies a transformation in the financial sector, positioning Bitcoin above Visa and MasterCard.

Both technologically and in its market penetration, Bitcoin is expected to remain on a growth path. 

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