The Lightning Network continues to reach new milestones along its path to final development. This week marks another crucial accomplishment as the second layer protocol reached record capacity. This added growth can be attributed to a combination of factors including more Dapps, higher demand for low-cost Bitcoin transactions, and the legal acceptance of Bitcoin in some countries.
Specifically, the decision by El Salvador’s government to make Bitcoin legal tender has helped to catapult the Lightning Network onto center stage. Also, the Bitcoin Beach project showed the community how the Lightning Network can make Bitcoin accessible and usable as a daily currency. Additionally, the store of value aspects of Bitcoin has already helped El Salvadorians to avoid crushing inflation over the last month.
Researchers Agree – LN is on the Rise
A study conducted by the Arcane Research demonstrates just how far the network has come this year alone. Researchers showed that the Lightning Network increase its capacity from 1,100 to 1,200 in 39 days. The network then again jumped significantly from 1,200 to 1,300 in just 34 days. In all, the protocol has experienced a 70% increase in under six months.
When you delve into the data, you can see that there has been a huge increase in the number of active nodes. There are currently 22,705 nodes in operation across the entire network. Of these nodes, around 12,079 operate as active payment channels at this time. These channels have helped to drive the capacity of the network to new heights.
Lightning Network Rapid Expansion
It took the Lightning Network the better part of three years to go from 0 to 1,000 BTC capacity. This year smashed all previous growth records as the network had a capacity of 1,040 BTC at the beginning of the year. This capacity expanded to +1.800 BTC since that time. Notably, analysts predict this growth trend to continue for the foreseeable future.
The Lightning Network Revolution Continues
In addition to the legalization of Bitcoin by countries, there has also been a push by businesses to start accepting the Lightning Network. Spearheading this desire sits a variety of LN-enabled payment processors. Platforms such as OpenNode, BTCPay, Coingate, and Globee have simplified the LN-process significantly.
Today, a business can begin accepting Lightning Network payments directly from their POS without the need to make any significant upgrades. Additionally, the introduction of Bitcoin debit cards has also helped to drive further interest in cost-efficient payment methods for cryptocurrency users.
A New Wave of Lightning Network Dapps is Coming
As Bitcoin continues to turn the tides and demonstrate the importance of decentralization, the Lightning Network serves a vital role in providing accessibility to all. The instant and low-cost payments made possible through this off-chain protocol enable everyone from merchants to video game developers to expand their crypto strategy considerably. You can expect to see even more Lightning Network gains as the advantages gained from integration are too much to ignore. For now, you can start using the Lightning Network and save on fees, enjoy after transactions, and support the expansion of the network.