Bitcoin’s scaling solution ‘Lightning Network’ passed a milestone recently, with the number of active nodes on the network breaching 4,000 for the first time. Lightning Labs, the developers of the technology that aims to help Bitcoin overcome congestion and high fees, reported last week that 4,037 nodes were now combining to give the platform 125 BTC capacity, with potentially many more hidden nodes also active. This translates to $725,000 currently active within the system at current prices.
Taking Bitcoin Off-chain
Lightning Network, first proposed in 2015, aims to revolutionize how people make regular payments with Bitcoin. This will be achieved through the use of ‘channels’ between two entities who regularly transact, taking them ‘off chain’ and bundling them into a stack to be processed in one hit later on. When one of the parties closes the channel, the main Bitcoin ledger is updated with all the transactions and the funds are distributed accordingly, keeping smaller everyday purchases off the main chain.
Lightning Network is essentially an experimental concept, currently in beta testing stage, with developers still working on core security and robustness rather than user experience. Although, that hasn’t stopped some enterprising individuals from creating rather novel uses for the technology. Lightning Network’s security issues were highlighted in March when a DDOS attack took around 200 nodes offline. Lightning Labs co-founder Olaoluwa Osuntokun was recently honored in the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ list for his work in the scaling solution, illustrating the level of the achievement and complexity involved in turning the concept of the Lightning Network into a reality.