The Bitcoin Lightning network does not stop growing, why is it?

Lightning capability in public channels.

The capacity of the public channels of the Bitcoin Lightning network continues to set record numbers. At times when the market is down, there are more possibilities to send and receive bitcoins (BTC) -without restrictions- through this second layer solution, as its widespread growth shows.

Lightning channel capacity is reaching all-time highs of 3,942 bitcoins or just over $118 million (USD), according to data from one of the Lightning Network explorers, Amboss Space.

Lightning capacity can be understood as the amount of BTC that can be sent through this network; in other terms, is the liquidity available in the network channels that users have to make payments.

1ML, which is another of the lightning network explorers, Mark a small difference from the previous indicator. According to this explorer, the capacity of the channels is at 3,906.29 BTCindicating a growth of 8% more than the previous month.

For its part, Glassnode, another data viewer on Bitcoin and Lightning, points out that, as of May 24, Lightning network channels had a capacity of 3,902.2 BTC.

Lightning capability in public channels.
The capacity of public Lightning channels continues to set records. Source: Glassnode.

Although the figures differ a little, this is normal, since it is a decentralized network, where there are many sources to measure activity and verify datawhich hinders its absolute precision.

The difference in Lightning channel capacity between the various sources is 40 BTC, an amount compared which does not affect the magnitude of the increasing liquidity of the payment channels of this network.

Number of channels and nodes also on the rise

Capacity in BTC is not the only thing that has gone up in Lightning. The number of payment channels has also shown a sustained increase for a few weeks.

In detail, the number of channels has grown 2.3% compared to last month, to exceed 85,000 payment channels available to transfer bitcoins, according to data from 1ML.

According to the explorer Amboss Space, 2,865 channels were added in the last week. This can be understood as more opportunities for bitcoin users to make quick and cheap payments.

For its part, the number of Lightning nodes, which are what allow the micropayment network to come to life, is also on the rise. 1ML highlights an increase of 1.74% from last month, with 305 new active nodes, for an approximate total of 17,528.

Channel nodes lighting capacity.
Number of nodes, channels and capacity of the Lightning network are in green numbers. Source: 1ML.

Almost agrees with glass node, which counts 17,294 nodes; but he disagrees with Amboss, who says there are 16,245 Lightning Network nodes active and working.

In general, these are approximate figures that coincide in an increase in the use and presence of the Lightning network within the Bitcoin ecosystemwhich has taken an important value since the last year, growing by 200%, according to what we have reported in CriptoNoticias.

Sweet Villarreal, developer of Bitcoin and Lightning Network, spoke about this with CriptoNoticias. For her, it is nothing more than the «natural curve of adoption of things», as this technology “is becoming a payment network” at scale. “It’s because most payments are atomic,” he explained.

What drives the growth of Lightning?

Beyond the market demand towards Bitcoin micropayment solution, there are also factors that seem to influence the number of channels, nodes and channel capacity to be on the rise.

Financial and educational support for Lightning developers

One of the factors has to do with the support that Lightning developers have received to keep their projects linked to layer two of Bitcoin running. We have talked about that in CriptoNoticias.

For example, Francisco Calderón, a Venezuelan programmer, was recently awarded a scholarship by the Human Rights Foundation, for his work with the Telegram bot lnp2pBot, with which satoshis can be exchanged for fiat money without custody, identification and directly from the social network. .

Likewise, we review the scholarship received by students from Mexico and Argentina to learn how to develop tools related to Bitcoin and, of course, Lightning.

Lightning Bot.
Lnp2pBot is a bot designed by a Venezuelan programmer, which allows you to exchange BTC for fiat money using the Lightning network. Source: CriptoNoticias.

More services and integrations

Services and integrations around Lightning also play a critical role in growing channels, nodes, and capacity. since they are essential so that they can be executed without problems. In addition, they urge the expansion of the network as more services add Lightning.

A sample is the card that allows you to make payments in bitcoin, such as Visa or Mastercard, but from a wallet, called Bolt Card. This financial product is used to pay with BTC using the Lightning network, without having to scan the traditional QR code or copy an address.

There is also the integration of Lightning services to exchanges and other protocols, which it has served for the expansion of the micropayment network practically all over the world.

An example is Kraken, which enabled Lightning a few months ago after more than a year of waiting, something that was reported by this newspaper. Coincidentally, this exchange has one of the channels with the most capacity, up to 146.7 BTC ($4.3 million)according to 1ML.

Another example is BitPay, one of the most important bitcoin-based payment processors in the market, which listed the benefits of the Lightning network within its servers a few weeks ago, allowing merchants to accept BTC in a streamlined manner.

Lightning ability on Kraken.
Kraken has one of the largest capacities on the Lightning Network, holding up to 146.6 BTC, according to 1ML. Source: 1ML.

BitPay has a Lightning node tracked by 1ML, which have a capacity of 1.40 bitcoins or USD 41,300; distributed in about 10 channels enabled for marketing with BTC.

Updates, something essential

Another factor that influences the growth of the network is the updates, fundamental pieces for this technology to be maintained. In this sense, in CriptoNoticias we report the most recent release of Lightning Loop, an implementation that serves as a bridge between the main chain of Bitcoin and the Lightning network.

This update is especially relevant because it allows withdrawals to Bitcoin above 1 BTC, which translates as a significant expansion of the capacity of the channels to streamline payments through the layer two solution. The interesting thing is that up to 30 thousand payments equivalent to USD 1 can be added to the main chain, without having to close the channel.

More privacy

One last factor that could determine the sustained growth of the Lightning network could be the privacy of payments, which, unlike Bitcoin, cannot be traced as easily.

As is known, the Lightning network does not have an accounting book, so the transactions that take place in it are highly private. In fact, it is very difficult to know the balances of the addresses and the balance of the open channels in this network.

Dulce Villareal specified at this point that the privacy offered by Lightning is a benefit it has over Bitcoin, which could lead to more usability by people and, therefore, more channels, nodes and capacity.

Lightning used to make a purchase.
The Bitcoin Lightning Network being used to buy a beer. Source: coin68.

Although companies that work with governments –such as Chainalysis– want to put the magnifying glass on the Lightning network, the truth is that this micropayment solution will remain immutable and even more so if there is a massive adoption of the Taproot protocol, the most recent update of Bitcoin .

These reasons allow us to project that the Lightning network will not follow another path except that of growth. Even if the price of the currency continues to decline, the use of BTC as a means of payment will continue to spread thanks to these toolsapproaching the premise of becoming a global asset of the internet.

This article was contributed by Luis EsparragozaCriptoNoticias journalist.

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