How Fast is Lightning Network in Real Life?

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Bitcoin has long been criticized for being too slow and expensive to be considered a viable alternative to fiat currency, but a Bitcoin fan has put that to the test. In response to a tweet from Bitcoin maximalist Anthony Pompliano, who suggested that Bitcoin’s Lightning Network might be as fast as standard credit card payments, JP Thor put the network to the ultimate test by comparing it with a debit card transaction – the results were pretty impressive.

On Your Marks…

Thor compared Lightning Network through Wallet of Satoshi with a Mastercard debit card through Apple Pay, a means of payment that Lightning Network intends to rival and would, in an ideal world, surpass. The first test involved the setting up of two wallets and adding funds. Here, Wallet of Satoshi and Apple Pay both recorded the same setup time, about five minutes, which was a promising start. The meat of the dish however is always going to be on the payment side:

How Fast is Lightning Network comparison

As we can see, the actual payment time was only a second behind that of Apple Pay, and the only real problem was the merchant interface, which is not surprising given Apple’s resources compared to, well, everybody else’s. Lightning Network performed admirably all things considered, only eight seconds behind in total, most of which was down to the merchant side.

Lightning Network Catching Up

Thor concludes, after taking into account other factors like merchant adoption, imminent wallet upgrades etc, that Lightning Network has every chance of catching up, given that Apple Pay is operating at peak transaction times given the existing technology, and that Lightning Network has much more room to grow.
With the amount of money being held within the Lightning Network and the merchant adoption on a steady rise, having an operational speed that is well within the vicinity of the established protocols is very encouraging for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general. Watch out Mastercard, we’re coming for you!