In recent weeks, Ethereum development team announced that progress was being made on the Istanbul upgrade, which is expected to be the most advanced improvement to what is already the world's fastest and most efficient blockchain network. Co-founder and core development leader Vitalik Buterin has explained that the upgraded blockchain will be able to handle more than 3,000 transactions per second, which he describes as a kind of "world computer."

As far as modern computing is concerned, the Ethereum blockchain does not actually fall into the category of supercomputer. While the increased capacity of the blockchain is impressive and certainly welcome, it is not as fast as other grid or distributed computing networks currently in use for artificial intelligence purposes. Even after the Istanbul upgrade, the Ethereum network will be able to handle a fraction of what Visa and MasterCard currently manage, but it still represents a blockchain that is more powerful than Bitcoin.

It should be noted that Buterin is not too interested in digital currency tokens; the underlying goals of his Ethereum project have always been centered on creating computing networks that can handle endless applications and smart contracts. The high level of scrutiny required by financial smart contracts such as cash transfers, loan agreements, and even gambling applications calls for considerable processing power executed by decentralized networks, and this is what Ethereum is growing into.

Although Buterin's interests are not aligned with currency tokens, the Ethereum blockchain continues to be favored by central banks and providers of financial services. The Eastern Caribbean dollar, for example, is an example of a digital currency that transacts in the same fashion as its fiat counterpart, and it runs on a centralized Ethereum blockchain. The central banks of Russia and Singapore have used Ethereum to respectively mint rubles and dollars.

Analysts who follow cryptocurrency development believe that Ethereum still has ways to go before it can reach the capacity of Visa and MasterCard networks; still, they like the direction that this blockchain is taking, and they believe that it is better suited for practical applications and actual circulation in comparison to Bitcoin.