A lot has been talked and said about Bitcoin’s most awaited scalability solution – The Lightning Network.The Lightning Network is basically a second layer protocol developed atop the Bitcoin’s blockchain network and takes transactions off the chain, thereby reducing congestion on the main network and thus expanding the blockchain’s operational abilities by manifold times.
Since the beginning of this year, there have been some good reports emerging regarding the speed of the development of the Lightning Network. Last month in February, Laszlo Hanyecz – the first Bitcoin pizza purchaser tried to repeat history again this time purchasing two pizzas and making payment through Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
Adding yet another feather to its cap, the Lightning Network mainnet reached 1000 active nodes for the very first time in its short history. At the press time, the data from a monitoring resource shows 1006 active nodes at the press-time with a record-high of 1863 open channels.
Going from the ongoing speed of progress achieved by the developers of Lightning Network, many analysts are now speculating that the first mainnet version of the protocol can see an official release very soon. Ever since being launched in December 2017, the Lightning Network has achieved significant growth both on its testnet as well as mainnet applications.
In spite of criticism from some senior personalities in the Bitcoin community, a lot of users are seen flocking their wings to the Lightning Network which itself shows that the enthusiasm for the scalability of the Bitcoin network remains very high. The criticism made by a few members circulates around the point that the protocol is yet not robust enough to handle multiple users at a time and also has some loopholes which can cause them to lose funds.
The speed of the scalability of Lightning Network is posing a serious threat to on-chain scaling solution like the Bitcoin Cash offering bigger blocks. Bitcoin Cash is the first Bitcoin derivate which came to life last year in August 2017. On the other hand, the Lightning Network, which is the off-chain scaling solution has received much praise from tech giant Microsoft who said that it would favor LN anytime over other on-chain solutions.
The proponents of the lightning protocol also believe that LN is less divisive in nature in comparison to other on-chain scaling solutions like the Bitcoin Cash. Reacting to the latest development of Lightning Network, a few commentators have started saying that if this is made available for users in near time, it can possibly make Bitcoin Cash completely “obsolete”.
A lot of other people and developers have been working in parallel for the development of the Lightning Network. Earlier this year in January, VPN provider TorGuard started accepting mainnet Lightning Network payments. Last month in February, another Austrian group Coinfinity executed and demonstrated the first Bitcoin ATM transaction using the Lightning Network.
As reported by Coindesk, Japan’s third-largest electricity provider Chubu Electric Power Co. is currently exploring ways to make Bitcoin payments through the Lightning Network and is working on developing a protocol promising to cut costs for transactions.