Analysis of the Lightning network routing problems reported by DIAR

A study conducted by Diar on June 29 has revealed that Lightning Network technology wouldn’t be so effective, the reliability that successful routing payment is still rather low, especially when high amounts are used. The probability of a LN payment success using a few dollars is 70%, while the success rate for a payment of about $ 200 is 1%.

This happens because not all nodes have channels with a capacity equal to the above-mentioned amount or with larger amounts, making it difficult to find a routing between the various nodes available.

Diar (source: website)

As explained in the previous article published by DIAR (, which, moreover, would seem to be contradictory to the analysis they themselves carried out.

This problem can be solved in a fairly simple way; if all nodes participating in the same LN had a capacity with larger amounts, there wouldn’t be any more relevant problems regarding routing, because precisely, routes would be found more easily, assuming, for example, that the capacity of each node is increased to a minimum of $ 200.


Lightning Network technology is a way to solve the blockchain scalability. With a high number of transactions, commission costs increase dramatically due to the problem of poor network scalability. LN is creating a solution to ensure that not all user transactions are not immediately recorded within a blockchain block. To make this solution possible, payment channels are opened between two parties who make an off-chain transfer possible by reducing commission costs and increasing the transactions’ number.

Only when the channel will be closed, the transactions made inside will be included in the blockchian.

Being an optional extension, however, it is necessary that users and services move their transactions on special wallets and also for this reason, this transition which is happening appear so slow.

Peter Todd (see the Twitter profile)

It would seem that from this study the data, conducted by Diar, the dream of being able to solve bitcoin scalability problem vanishes, but Peter Todd (dev Bitcoin Core) and Elizabeth Stark — the co-founder of Lightning Labs — don’t agree with this study.

It seems that the Diar study is actually highlighting the obvious, which had already been underlined by developers and everyone knows what is happening with the Lightning Network building. It is true that there is a high probability of failure for larger amounts on LN as it is, but that it has never been hidden and has never needed to be discovered.

Even Christian Decker, an LN technology guru, stood against this study stating that the information of their discoveries had always been available and never hidden from fans.

Peter Todd told to Cointelegraph:

“See, Lightning has a temporary upper limit on channel funding amounts in an effort to discourage uses of Lightning that could lose a significant amount of money. In turn, users have heeded the warnings of the devs, and not put much money on their channels. The result is both predictable and desirable.
This limit will get removed at some point. Additionally, work is being done to allow for multi-path routing of payments, where the size of any one channel wouldn’t limit total payment size, as multiple channel paths would be used simultaneously to make payments.”

Users seem not to have given too much weight to the Peter Todd’s words, incorrectly listening to the developers’ advices which claim to invest little money in the LN channels, probably for fear of repercussions from the community that could lose money invested. Surely, if you are afraid of experiencing evolution, progress is slower.

Jonas Schnelli (see the Twitter profile)

Jonas Schnelli, one of the main developers of Bitcoin reiterates the limits deliberately imposed by developers about the LN beta test and he tells to Cointelegraph:

“Lightning is still in Beta. The developers have always told users to open channels with only small amounts due to eventually unknown security risks. Now some people — in the press — are claiming that its not reliable for larger amounts…
In my opinion, lightning is very reliable. Channel amounts will slowly increase as confidence rises. That article above is misleading since it hides that fact the developers have asked for small amounts to be used.”

It would seem that Diar created this study only to talk about himself, saying obvious things for the sector experts, deceiving the less experienced, denigrating technology in development which is still not ready for the general public.


This article was originally written in Italian by Mattia Franzoni and translated in English by Stefania Stimolo for NovaMining.