Lightning Network Capacity Surges 830% in 6 Months
The Lightning Network (LN) is a second layer payment protocol which is designed to work on top of the Bitcoin (BTC) protocol. Many experts tout the Lightning Network as being the solution that will allow Bitcoin to solve it’s scaling issues. Bitcoin in it’s current state hasn’t been able to gain widespread adoption due to increased fee’s and its 10 minute block time. As a result many came to the conclusion that bitcoin wouldn’t be able function at scale as a currency and would instead be seen as a store of value.
Implementation of the Lightning Network however would enable transactions to be completed off-chain both rapidly and with minimal fee’s. This would be facilitated through the use of payment channels that happen off chain and then later get recorded to the blockchain. This in theory could enable Bitcoin to function at scale as currency.
Lightning Network Growth Continues to Accelerate
The capacity of the Lightning Network has been growing as an impressive rate. Growth can be tracked by the total number of channels, nodes, or the total capacity of the whole network in BTC. According to data from p2sh.info, the network could handle 85.4 BTC six months ago versus the record breaking 710 BTC today. The total number of open channels has risen from 11.36 thousand channels to 32.34 thousand in the same period.
In the last month alone, there has been a 30% growth in network capacity, and 36.2% increase in the number channels. The average fee transaction fee has been 1 satoshi.
For current Lightning Network Stats, 1ml.com is a great resource.
Real World Usage of Lightning Network — The Future of Payments?
In July of 2018, a company named Coingate began a trial pilot of the LN with over 100 merchants. Coingate is a payment gateway for blockchain payments that was founded in 2014.
During the trial, CoinGate had offered to reimburse any losses due to network error but found that actually, none occurred.
The following was quoted from the company’s ‘A year in review’ article posted on their website:
“In addition to welcoming new members, this year we have seen over 41,000 new users register with us. Over 4,500 merchants are now using our payment gateway, and we have processed close to 300,000 merchant payments since January. In comparison, this is nearly three times more than last year! Although most payments are still made with Bitcoin, we processed more than 15,000 LTC and ETH payments combined in the last 6 months alone.
It appears that the Lightning Network is on a path to be potentially a major game changer for Bitcoin. However it is important to note that the Lightning Network is still considered to be officially ‘in testing’. Despite the significant excitement by the Bitcoin community, there may be risk that LN could grow too big to fast before its robustness has been 100% confirmed.
Do you think that Lightning Network is the answer to Bitcoin gaining wide-spread mass adoption? Feel free to share your thoughts below!
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