Despite the slump in the Bitcoin market this week, the Lightning Network (LN) has hit an all-time high network capacity, currently handling USD 2 million in Bitcoin.
The LN is a payment protocol that operates as a second layer over the Bitcoin blockchain to facilitate faster transactions between nodes. Users argue that it could be the solution for Bitcoin’s scalability issues.
While Bitcoin’s value may have depleted over USD 1,000 this week currently standing at just over USD 4,400, the LN has hit an all-time high operating capacity of USD 2 million, nearly a 300% increase. The number of nodes has risen to 4,136 at time of press, adding over 8%, while the number of channels has reached 12,224.
A Reddit post also indicates the growing scale of the LN on an anecdotal level. Reddit user u/DistributedFutures shared a photo of a shop in Melbourne displaying a rare Bitcoin LN acceptance banner, with commentators comparing the network to Bitcoin’s rise in 2012.
The original poster noted it as an indicator the LN ”isn’t vaporware, it’s real and available at retail”. It was also written that Mind Games where the sign was displayed is on one of the busiest streets in the Australian city of 5 million people.
The network has faced criticism, however, over the speed of its growth in relation to its technical abilities. In July this year Andreas Brekken, an associate and supporter of Roger Ver and his Bitcoin hard fork Bitcoin Cash (BCH), began operating a powerful LN node that took control of 49% of the total network capacity which then stood at USD 427,000.
Controlling such a large portion of the network capacity does not necessarily present a high-risk to the network, although many interpreted the move as an attempt by Brekken to undermine the network.
Bitcoin Cash is highly critical of the LN as it is a key competitor to BCH’s success should it find wide-scale success.
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