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Why has been the ethereum network so congested for the last two weeks - transactions were taking hours to be confirmed? Does this indicate a potential scalability problem? Does having more miners solve the issue?

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Why has been the ethereum network so congested for the last two weeks - transactions were taking hours to be confirmed?

Congestion is relative :-)

There is a gas price market. Those users willing to pay more for their transactions would see their transactions go through in what they would consider a normal time. The problem is perhaps with people's expectations: they were either unaware of how the market works, or they didn't expect to have to pay more at times when the network is under higher load. (The problem was compounded by some wallets not automatically adjusting the gas prices and users submitting underpriced transactions.)

Does this indicate a potential scalability problem?

It indicates that the gas market works. Demand increased, prices became more competitive, then demand decreased, prices went down. That's not to say at some point that scalability won't be an issue, because it will.

Does having more miners solve the issue?

Not in this case, no.

  • From your answer I understand that miners are including those transactions with higher gas price while the lower ones are being left behind. So, let's say we have a new set of miners who are not greedy and decide to finish the block by including only those with low gas prices. It seems to be that this new set of miners will help reduce the congestion. I'm a newbie, please correct me if I'm wrong – kasa Dec 19 '17 at 15:33
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    Those miners would help to reduce the congestion, yes. But they would earn less from transaction fees for those transactions. Also, if they completely filled up the blocks, then those blocks would propagate around the network more slowly, so there'd be more chance that they would be orphaned and not be included in the chain, meaning they wasted their time/energy trying to mine the block. The incentives and economics are quite interesting :-) – Richard Horrocks Dec 20 '17 at 20:37
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Of course scalability problem is near.
Not to repeat myself, there was a discussion on this topic just a few days ago, please have a look: here.

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