A Look at the Lightning Network – 3 Years On
The Lightning Network continues to remain the top contender within the Bitcoin scaling debate. This unique second layer protocol has been in Beta testing for over two years now. Over that time, the network has achieved multiple milestones, corrected a variety of coding errors, and reached new heights in terms of usage and adoption. Here’s a look at how far this revolutionary off-chain protocol has come.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
The statistics show that the Lightning Network is on the rise. Over the last 12 months, the network experienced an astonishing 160% growth. This growth is spread across all aspects of the network. For example, LN channels have increased 170% since January 2021. Also, the overall value the network holds has smashed previous records.
This month saw the Lightning Network’s capacity exceed 2,900 Bitcoin. Notably, this growth represents a substantial push that came about in September. The stats show that the network’s BTC capacity doubled over the last three months alone. This capacity growth falls in line with an increase in the average value of Lightning Network transactions. The average transaction sent per channel is currently hovering around 0.04 BTC.
What’s Driving All of This Growth?
There are multiple factors to consider when researching the driving factors behind the Lightning Networks’ sudden uptick in adoption. For one, it’s vital to recognize the fact that the LN community is now larger than ever. The ecosystem now consists of technical foundations, developers, wallets, merchant processing firms, payment cards, DeFi platforms, rewards, and gaming networks.
Additionally, a number of CEXs (centralized exchanges) added support for LN transactions. Networks like Okex and Bull Bitcoin integrated LN withdrawals as a way to provide investors with a more cost-efficient alternative. These platforms are far from alone as this year has seen Kraken and other top exchanges announce plans to support the Lightning Network moving forward. Lastly, the fact that governments like El Salvador continue to embrace Bitcoin helps to drive adoption.
Twitter Adds Lightning Network Support
Another major development within the LN-community was its addition to Twitter. Twitter users can now tip each other using the Lightning Network directly. In the past, platforms like Tippen.me provided this functionality to users through a third party. Now, one of the world’s largest social media applications directly supports Bitcoin LN transactions.
More Wallet Options
Another factor to consider is how much easier it is to use the Lighting Network today than compared to this time last year. There are now a variety of full and light node wallet options available to users. You can even purchase already set up LN-node hardware. These devices provide users with plug-and-play LN full node capabilities. By removing all the technical requirements from the equation, more users can join in the excitement.
The Lightning Network Refined
The latest news falls in line with the greater trend of large-scale Lightning Network adoption. Bitcoiners are eager to use any means to reduce their network costs. For major investors, or those conducting lots of transactions daily, the Lightning Network provides the perfect solution. For these reasons, you can expect to hear more great news as the Lightning Network inches closer to the end of its Beta testing program.