Total Value Transferred By Cryptocurrencies is Still Comparable to MasterCard

  • The total daily value (in USD) transferred by all cryptocurrency networks (combined) is comparable to value transferred by MasterCard's network.
  • Crypto-related technology is still in its primitive stages, and it will take time before it can actually compete with more established financial networks.

Bitcoin (BTC) is reportedly close to overtaking MasterCard (a New York-based multinational financial services firm) - when it comes to transferring value between two parties.

According to data analyzed by TrustNodes, BTC transactions transfer an average of $8 billion every 24 hours while MasterCard’s financial network processes about $11 billion in daily transactions.

MasterCard Processes $4.4 Trillion In Yearly Transactions

MasterCard’s quarterly report revealed that its global payment service handled transactions worth $4.4 trillion (in total) in the past year. In comparison, the total value of all BTC transactions during the same time period is at about $3 trillion (assuming the daily $8 billion in bitcoin moved each day).

Meanwhile, the Ethereum (ETH) network, which currently ranks second in terms of total value transferred, processes around $600 million worth of daily transactions. The Litecoin (LTC) network also handles a large amount of daily transfers - as their value totalled about $170 million in a span of 24 hours (when checked by TrustNodes on November 20th).

XRP Ledger Transactions Not So Simple To Track

As TrustNodes explained in its blog post: “All cryptos in combination probably transfer about as much value as MasterCard despite having a far lower capacity in transactions per second.” Notably, blockchain data analyzed by TrustNodes did not take into account the daily value of transactions processed on Ripple’s network (using XRP).

The news outlet explained that they were unable to see Ripple’s data as the XRP ledger “is not really a public blockchain – or a blockchain at all.” Although it’s unclear which data sources were examined by TrustNodes, financial data related to XRP transfers is readily available on CoinMarketCap, CryptoCompare, and on this website: https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/transactions.

Interestingly, other recent reports suggest that the value of BTC transfers may not be catching up to leading payment processors such as MasterCard or Visa. According to blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis, bitcoin’s use in payments has dropped by 80% (since the start of 2016 to September).

Notably, the value of monthly BTC payments decreased considerably from a December 2017 high of $427 million to only $96 million in September.

Being Realistic About Crypto

It must be noted that comparing transaction volume on MasterCard and cryptocurrency networks may not accurately represent the the transfer of real value. As most analysts have pointed out, a large number of crypto transactions involve highly speculative trading. Meanwhile, transactions on the MasterCard network are mainly for making payments - so both involve different types of value transfer.

However, the main point here is that the traditional methods of value transfer such as MasterCard’s network may have competition in the form of cryptocurrency transactions. While the decentralized means of value transfer (which was first introduced in the bitcoin whitepaper) may be quite useful, the technology that supports digital currency transactions is in its early stages of development.

As CryptoGlobe reported, Dr. Neha Narula, the director of MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, has said that the current state of crypto-related technology is comparable to how the internet was in the 1970s - before the introduction of the TCP/IP protocol.

As covered, Wences Casares, an early bitcoin adopter and the founder of crypto cold storage solution firm, Xapo, believes digital currencies are still an “intellectual experiment”, and that it would be “irresponsible” of those actively in their development to not publicly acknowledge this.