The Lightning Network is making history. What started out as nothing more than an idea has evolved into the long-awaited solution to Bitcoin’s scalability problem. Just last month, the 0.4-beta was rolled out to huge acclaim, with its user numbers showing a steady increase. At last count, the number of active nodes had reached 2,000, with there being more than 5,800 open channels. With a network capacity that has shot past $150,000, it’s clear that the Lightning Network is making massive strides towards widespread adoption!
A working solution
Bitcoin has been a digital currency game changer in every sense of the word, even if it has suffered a fair share of problems during its brief history. Following its insane growth in popularity, Bitcoin transaction fees and confirmation times suffered a hit. The whole purpose of the Lightning Network is to solve this problem, with development team at Lightning Labs doing a pretty fantastic job so far.
Winning over the doubters
Showing just how far the Lightning Network has come in an extremely short amount of the time, at one point it had more active nodes than Bitcoin Cash (BCH). This shows that the improvements the Lightning Network is making has made it Bitcoin’s future, rather than just an impressive theory. It’s even been able to win over those that have been somewhat so-so about the platform until this point. This includes Peter Todd (Bitcoin Core Developer), who was actually one of the longest standing critics of The Lightning Network. After making a successful transaction, Todd has at last come around to its potential. “@peterktodd – A few weeks ago I unsuccessfully tried to pay my cell phone bill with Lightning via @acinq_co’s Eclair wallet and @bitrefill; kept failing due to what were apparently routing problems. Just tried again, and out of the box it was a perfect success! $40 payment confirmed instantly.”, Todd said on Twitter.
Passing the test
Putting the Lightning Network to the test, Todd made three payments of $40, $5, and $3, with each going through smoothly. The level of transaction efficiency is clearly making waves, with this providing solid evidence that the Lightning Network is here to stay. The potential for the Lightning Network is huge, as it has the power to make Bitcoin a truly functional day-to-day currency. While other cryptos have popped up, attempting to best Bitcoin at its own game via lower fees, the “original” digital currency is still the biggest of the bunch.
Showing patience and caution
We’ve all seen the growth of the Lightning Network, but there are still calls for both caution and patience. Commenting on how far it has come, Elizabeth Stark (Lightning Labs CEO) said, “Bitcoin enthusiasts have gotten excited about this, merchants are excited about this. It feels like we’re right on the edge of mass cryptocurrency adoption.” But, she has also made it very clear that the Lightning Network isn’t yet a finished product, “This is still an early beta version aimed at developers and advanced users. As with any early software there will still be bugs. Users shouldn’t be putting more money on Lightning right now than they are willing to lose.”
SegWit steps up
Spirits are certainly high when it comes to the Lighting Network, but it’s not the only name that’s attempting to solve the Bitcoin scalability issue. Facing competition – if it can be put that way – SegWit, short for Segregated Witness, is gaining attention as the number of transactions making use of the technology has doubled in recent months.
The Lightning Network is the answer
Bitcoin has been on a wild ride over the past twelve months. There’s been controversies, innovations, and plenty to talk about, but there does appear to be a sense of stability – even though small – coming about. There is an argument that the emergence of the Lightning Network – along with how it’s now within touching distance of widespread adoption – is leading the crypto industry into a whole new age.