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The Battle for the Lightning Network

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As the highly-anticipated Lightning Network continues its march towards full integration into the BTC blockchain, more nodes continue to pop up across the globe.  The adoption of this revolutionary protocol has been swift and just last week the number of Lightning Network nodes surpassed that of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain node count.  This is huge news for the cryptocommunity but it does raise some concerns.

What if Large Corporations Enter the Lightning Network with the Goal of Monetizing their Efforts?

The Lightning Network protocol was developed to host the transaction computations off the main blockchain.  This is possible thanks to the Lightning Networks use of payment channels.  When you proceed with a transaction on the Lightning Network, you are essentially opening a direct payment channel to the other person your transaction is with.  It is these channels that some are worried could see large scale corporate adoption over the coming year as the Lightning Network becomes a force in the cryptocommunity.

The Way of the Miners

This is very similar to what happened to BTC’s mining operations.  Once BTC’s value was realized by governments and corporations on a global scale, you began to see huge multi-million dollar mining operations popping up across the world.  The mining facilities were far more efficient than home-based computer mining rigs that had previously ruled the blockchain and it wasn’t very long before BTC began to experience forms of centralization through their node network.

Countries such as China raised the bar even further by creating massive government-subsidized mining operations within their country.  The use of more expensive and specialized hardware has all but forced small mining operations to the background.  Currently, the BTC blockchain is essentially being held hostage by these huge centralized mining operations that control the vast majority of nodes on the market.

Will the Lightning Network Be Next?

Many people are predicting the same type of reaction from the marketplace regarding the Lightning Network’s nodes.  While this is a scary thought to consider, there are some reasons as to why this may not be how this plays out over the coming years.

Hardware Costs

Mining BTC is not a cheap thing to do and in its current state, you will need to invest in some serious ASIC chips just to be a small fish in the sea.  Lightning Labs, the developers of the Lightning Network has helped to reduce this risk by ensuring that the Lightning Network nodes do not require expensive hardware to operate.  This should help to evenly distribute the node placement throughout the network without any major players stepping into the arena.

Lightning Network Fee Hike in the Future?

This concern was paramount to Lightning Labs as it would be possible for a large enough payment channel to decide to monetize their efforts.  Further raising concerns is the fact that both Lightning Labs and MediaStream have taken large cash infusions to further the development of the network.  This has led many to believe we could see one of these organizations attempt to recoup their losses through exactly such as move.

This is a common tactic used by technology companies and one need not look any further than YouTube’s new project RedTube; to see how a corporation can commodify an idea and turn it into boatloads of profit.  As it stands now, Lightning Labs has been committed to remaining open-source and free, so no need to worry as of yet.

What do you guys think?  Will large corporations attempt to crash the party and tax us Bitcoiners for their services?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

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