Currently, bitcoin cannot be treated as money or a legitimate asset class, and it could take a long time before it supplants the US dollar, according a new report by UBS.
For the flagship cryptocurrency to effectively replace the U.S. money supply, which mainly includes paper bills, coins, and travelers’ checks, its network speed and efficiency would have to improve considerably, the report states.
Bitcoin (BTC) Cannot Function As Money
At present, the Bitcoin network is only able to handle a tiny fraction of the number of transactions processed by Visa Inc. In fact, Visa’s network can settle up to 24,000 transactions per second (TPS) while the Bitcoin blockchain can only confirm an average of 7 TPS.
UBS’ detailed 34-page report noted that Bitcoin’s capacity constraint is due to how its network has been designed and implemented. This, the financial firm said may continue to limit its ability to function effectively as money.
The UBS report concluded that:
Our findings suggest that Bitcoin, in its current form, is too unstable and limited to become a viable means of payment for global transactions or a mainstream asset class.
Bitcoin’s Use In Commerce Has Declined
Moreover, a report recently published by Chainalysis Inc. indicates that there are now substantially fewer e-commerce related BTC transactions. Last year, in September, there was reportedly $411 million in bitcoin processed by the 17 leading crypto payment processors, Chainalysis’ report noted.
More recently, in May, Chainalysis found that only $60 million in e-commerce related BTC transactions were handled by the major crypto payment services. Meanwhile, UBS’ report has determined that over 70 percent of bitcoin’s price fluctuation can be attributed to speculative demand.
Despite the challenges bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies face, UBS thinks that they have the potential to eventually become a viable asset class. However, the financial company’s report states that digital currencies could continue to be much more volatile than traditional asset classes while mainly attracting speculative investors and traders.