Lightning Network adoption continues to expand with both users and developers joining the network in record numbers throughout 2020. This week marks another significant milestone in the network's development as the networks' TLV (total locked value) peaked at $12.4 million. Importantly, the TLV represents the amount of Bitcoin currently in payment channels.
Notable Expansion – Lightning Network Adoption
Keenly, this off-chain protocol continues to set new records following a variety of major updates. To put this growth in perspective, one of the three main Lighting Network developers, Lightning Labs shared a post that explained there are now over 70 companies building Dapps on the LND implementation alone. It's true, the Lightning Network has made some strides this year, despite the obvious setbacks facing the world.
Lightning Network Adoption Fueled by Recent Upgrades
The new TLV record follows Blockstream's release of its first major c-lighting implementation. The new protocol, dubbed “Rat Poison Squared on Steroids” introduces some new functionality and security to the ecosystem. The name references a famous quote by Warren Buffet regarding the merits of Bitcoin. Obviously, he's not a fan of the world's first cryptocurrency.
In the past users encountered issues sending larger payments due to restrictions and the need to have equal liquidity present in the channel. This update allowed users to break large transactions into Multi-part payments (MPP). The protocol provides more stability and usability to the network.
Rat poison integrates watchtowers in the c-lighting implementation as well. Watchtowers are the guardians of the network. They monitor channel activity and penalize malicious nodes. Consequently, they are a vital part of the Lightning Network's security.
Wumbo Channel Update
Perhaps the biggest update to hit the Lighting Network is the Wumbo Channel update. The Wumbo update unlocked channel capacities. Up until the update, channel restrictions limited Lightning Network channel capacity to just 0.16777215 BTC. Additionally, the upgrade expanded transaction size restrictions. Crucially, the move signaled to the crypto community that the Lightning Network is closer to its public release date.
Stats Don't Lie – Lightning Network Adoption
A quick glimpse at the performance of the Lightning Network reveals that it achieved multiple milestones recently. For example, there are over 1,060 BTC that reside on the Lightning Network today. This represents a 24% improvement from this time a year ago. However, it is slightly below the networks all-time high set in May 2019 of 1,105 BTC.
Also, the number of publicly broadcasting nodes has seen some exceptional growth this year. Since January, the networks public nodes increased by over 50%. There are now 7,600 private payment channels available to the public. This growth represents more participation in the backend of the network.
In August alone, the Lightning Network's node growth smashed all previous records when it grew by an amazing 26%. This growth represented an additional 1,581 nodes added to the network. This node growth can also be seen as a direct result of a better UX.
It's Easy to Lightning Baby
Today, it's easier than ever to Lightning. Companies like Casa offer hardware solutions that remove all of the technical requirements from the node setup and operations procedures. In this way, anyone, regardless of their skill-level can participate and support further Lightning Network growth.