The lightning network (LN), the ultimate scaling solution for Bitcoin (BTC) keeps growing at very fast rates. There have been several developments around it and the network capacity continues to grow.
Lightning Network Grows Fast
Since very long time, Bitcoin developers are working day after day in order to release and improve the so called Lightning Network. This is the most important scaling solution for Bitcoin that aims to end with the scalability problems that the network is facing since a very long time.
With this implementation, it will be possible to send and receive Bitcoin almost immediately and with very low fees. After a number of transactions is processed, then, they are broadcasted into Bitcoin’s blockchain. Meanwhile, transactions will be made outside the main blockchain. At the moment of writing, there are 11,374 channels, something that represents an 11% increase in the last 30 days.
There are 3,208 nodes (10.83% increase compared to one month ago), and the network is able to handle 85 Bitcoins ($572,391 dollars). It is important to mention that the median base fee is 1 satoshi.
Until now, the lightning network is not available to use in day to day purchases or exchanges. However, there are some companies and firms that are trying to test how the LN works and help
BitMEX Sets Up a Lightning Network Node
For example, one of the most important things to mention is that the famous virtual currency exchange BitMEX has set up a lightning network node. More specifically, the decision has been
taken by BitMEX research and announced it on Twitter on August 21, 2018.
BitMEX Research has set up a lightning network node:
Public Key: 0287416bd553ff2630ff54640e3a7e4230d632387039313bf5a24d7df2006e13c2https://t.co/KEyOfBwiV9
Feel free to open a channel to our node
Deposits & withdrawals are still a long way off, but at least this is a start pic.twitter.com/FkFU1gvYnm
— BitMEX Research (@BitMEXResearch) August 21, 2018
The public Key has also been uploaded: 0287416bd553ff2630ff54640e3a7e4230d632387039313bf5a24d7df2006e13c2
The company explains that deposits and withdrawals are still far from happening, but they are working to have them functioning in the future with the network already running. Additionally, the exchange explained that all other lightning network nodes with the word ‘BitMEX’ on their alias, have nothing to do with the famous platform.
In a blog post uploaded by BitMEX at the beginning of the year, they explained that they have a real motivation behind the Lightning Network. The company believes that the LN is a superior way to scale the network and it can result in a transformational improvement for the market.
The exchange explained on the matter:
“The Lightning Network does appear to potentially offer significant and transformational improvements with respect to scalability. As a result, transaction speeds and transaction fee rates should dramatically improve, without impacting the underlying security of the core protocol.”
However, the exchange explains that LN have inferior security properties that would make it not suitable for larger payments. Currently, retail payments are relatively small in comparison to bigger transactions between financial institutions, big buyers, exchanges, and other important bitcoin users.
“Because of that, lightning may not be as big a game changes as some imagine, at least in the medium term,” explains BitMEX. “While enthusiasts appear likely to adopt this technology
quickly, widespread adoption may take considerable time.” Lightning Network Gets Hacker Camp Chaincode Labs and its developers want to offer a place for developers to build their own Lightning Network apps in order to accelerate its adoption around the world. According to Chaincode’s engineer Marco Falke, there is missing infrastructure in the space. About that, he commented:“There aren’t many apps and you can’t go into a shop and pay with bitcoin. There’s all this missing infrastructure. We thought it would be great to get some app developers involved that have experience building websites, but don’t have to have any background in bitcoin or lightning.”
The program related to the Lightning Network is called ‘residency’ but it is quite similar to a coding bootcamp. The team will be taking applications until they reach 12 students, that do not necessary need to know about Bitcoin. After that, the class will be focused on lightning network specifically.
The instructors will be explaining how the protocol works and help students answer the questions they have. During the residency, participants will have to work on a specific application they desire. We are talking about funny or simple games or more serious apps such as a payment gateway for daily purchases.
Chaincode wants to make developers involved in the ecosystem. By working with application developers that may be a good way to to improve the code usability. “Personally, I think every day we wait for lightning applications will delay lightning and bitcoin. It’s really important to do this app development thing as soon as possible,” explained Mr. Falke.
At the same time, James O’Beirne, another engineer at Chaincode, believes that these applications could help change the public perception of Bitcoin. In the past, and during the last
years, Bitcoin has been considered as a speculative asset with high volatility. Falke said that there are people that do not believe in the future of the Lightning Network as a possible solution to Bicoin’s scaling problems.
“A lot of people outside of bitcoin don’t understand it’s capabilities, including lightning. By facilitating app development we’re spreading awareness of what bitcoin is actually capable of,” explained O’Beirne. “People have turned to other smart contract platforms because they don’t understand how powerful bitcoin can be.”
Bitcoin needs to address scalability issues as soon as possible if it wants to reach an important number of individuals all over the world. The Lightning Network has been proposed as the most important scaling solution for the Bitcoin network and accepted for most of Bitcoin enthusiasts. However, it will need some more time for it to be implemented as a whole and officially launched.
Of course, there are some critics to it related to privacy and security. Developers are working in order to solve these issues and find solutions.
Those who did not support a second layer solution to the scalability issues presented by Bitcoin, decided to fork and create the so called Bitcoin Cash (BCH). BCH, compared to Bitcoin, offers
an on-chain scaling solution with larger blocks. At the same time, Bitcoin Cash is going to offer more private payments and the possibility for developers to launch tokens based on the BCH