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What is Transactions Per Second (TPS)?

Updated Jun 20, 2024

What is Transactions Per Second (TPS)?

What is TPS?

In the blockchain world, transactions per second (TPS) metrics measure the number of transactions a blockchain can process in a second.

For example, Ethereum processes around 12-15 transactions per second on average, while Bitcoin processes roughly 6-8.

Types of TPS

Not all TPS metrics are the same. There are 3 most common types of TPS:

  1. Real-time TPS

  2. Max Recorded TPS

  3. Max Theoretical TPS

Real-time TPS

Real-time TPS shows how many transactions per second the blockchain is processing. It’s probably the most important of all three metrics because it is based on real-time blockchain data and can’t be inflated. It shows the adoption level of the blockchain and its actual throughput.

Max Recorded TPS

Max recorded TPS indicates the peak TPS blockchain has ever reached. It shows how many transactions a blockchain can process during times of high workload. Typically, it happens when the market is volatile, and a lot of people want to transact at the same time.

Max Theoretical TPS

Max theoretical TPS shows how many transactions per second the blockchain is theoretically capable of handling. To calculate this metric, divide the block size measured in gas or bytes by the size of the smallest transaction possible. In most blockchains, the least possible transaction is a transfer of a native token.

For example, the Ethereum block size is 30 million gas, the block time is 12 seconds, and the transfer of Ether takes 21,000 of gas. It means each block can contain 30 million / 21,000 = 1428 transactions. So, the maximum theoretical TPS is 1428 transactions / 12s = 119 transactions per second. Of course, the reality is often different due to the different block times, block sizes, and other real-world nuances.

Real blockchain TPS

At Chainspect, we track TPS for all our blockchains in real time and show it on the dashboard

Chainspect Dashboard with Real-Time TPS

and on individual chain pages. For example, here is the Ethereum chain page.

Ethereum TPS is 15.6 tx/s, Max TPS is 62.34 tx/s

How We Calculate TPS on Chainspect?

To calculate Real-Time TPS we take different time intervals (hour/day/week/month) and calculate the total amount of transactions in them. Then we divide it by the number of seconds in an interval.

Only transactions with economic value are included, system transactions and transactions needed for consensus are excluded. Internal/inner transactions are not counted as additional transactions.

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