Earlier this week, the Lightning Network got its biggest ever node. However, in the time since we published that article, the node has grown to nearly three times in size. The shitcoin.com node currently weighs in at a massive 35.4 BTC ($221,080.87) and is 49% of the total network capacity. According to shitcoin.com’s node profile, the owners of the node are simply doing it to test the network for a review. “Official Lightning Network node for Shitcoin.com Why are we doing this, you ask? We’re writing a review of the Lightning Network!” reads the node profile bio.
Risky Sums of Money for a “Review”
The lightning network is still in beta 0.4, despite multiple firms announcing they are conducting tests on the network. There have been multiple successful tests of the network when using small sums of Bitcoin, such as Poketoshi, but there have been multiple high-profile Lightning Network developers advising against storing large sums of Bitcoin in channels due to bugs in the system. To risk 35 BTC for a review seems a little foolish, especially given the infancy of the network. Andreas Brekken – the man behind shitcoin.com – could simply be proving a point that the Lightning Network suffers from the same flaws the current Bitcoin mining process. Specifically, its susceptibility to one person or entity controlling more than half of the Bitcoin in the network. This could also be foreshadowing the case for the rich getting richer in a Proof of Stake (PoS) mining environment.
The 51% Issue All Over Again
The Lightning Network doesn’t require mining power it, therefore isn’t susceptible to 51% attacks in the way the mining pools can inflict damage. Mining pools like Bitmain can control 51% of the network and potentially change history or double spend Bitcoin. If a node on the Lightning Network controls 51% or more of the total network capacity, the worst thing that could happen is that this node receives more transactions. Therefore the node owner will make more money. This is a case of the rich get richer and it is centralization – something Bitcoin and all cryptos vehemently oppose.
Whether this really is a “review” as the node profile claims or is a possible demonstration of a 51% attack on the Lightning Network is yet to be seen. The node is continually growing in size, and will continue to do so until Brekken has completed his test – at least that’s what we presume. While there is no way to prevent someone from doing this when the Lightning Network is live, as long as there is money in the network, transactions will still pass at lightning speed and will aid in curing Bitcoin’s scalability issues.