Legend - Green area is total number of network transactions per day; Blue line is total number of network transactions per second:
transaction volume explained
A very promising feature of blockchain technology is the potential for humanity to interact across a borderless, frictionless network of commerce and trade. From e-commerce and delivery, to prediction markets and environmentalism, to microtransactions and smart contracts, to decentralized governance and voting, blockchains are not going to be only about payments.
But for now, it does help one understand the scaling potential of global cryptographic networks by comparing them with already existing, global payment infrastructures. For example, Visa has the capability of handling over 50,000 transactions per second. Bitcoin hasn't had a day over 10. However, over the course of a year, Visa processes around 100 billion transactions, which actually averages to less than 3,500 transactions per second.
It may (or may not) take years to catch up to the traditional, global payment networks, but it's important to remember that blockchain technology—and cryptocurrency that runs on top of it—has the potential to change many more industries beyond payments and finance.