Bitcoin Lightning Network Registers New Records But Many Things Remain Unsolved
The Lightning Network, the ultimate scaling solution for Bitcoin, keeps growing and expanding. The so called LN has seen an exponential increase in channels and capacity in the last 6 months. Indeed, it registered a 16,800% increase in the number of active channels and a 4,000% growth in channel capacity.
For example, back in January, the LN had 46 open channels and 0.682 BTC capacity. Today, these numbers are 7,835 and 26.20 respectively.
The network is growing, that’s for sure, but there is still a lot of work to do, considering that Bitcoin is moving over 1 million BTC per day, being worth over $6 billion dollars. Developers of the Lightning Network want to release it for users to be able to process microtransactions and make fast payments with low fees and without congesting the network.
At the moment, developers and testers are trying to search and repair possible bugs appearing in the network. That means that the LN is not ready to be deployed and working at a larger scale. But the results can be already seen.
Bitcoin has been suffering different problems during the last years, including scaling issues, which were very harmful for Bitcoin and the community. The cryptocurrency created to allow users to transact whatever amount desired was restrained by high fees and low transaction times.
During Bitcoin’s all time high and periods with an important amount of money transacted, the network couldn’t handle all the transactions at the same time, increasing the fees that users had to pay to send payments.
One of the possible momentousness solutions that have been implemented in order to solve this problem has been the Segregated Witness (SegWit). In this way, fees were less and transaction times have also been reduced, but it was not enough to solve all the problems of the network.
Indeed, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) forked from the original Bitcoin chain with the intention to offer an on-chain scaling solution. At the moment, the fees and transaction times outperform those of Bitcoin, and is expected to keep doing it in the future if Bitcoin does not take scaling issues seriously.
The Lightning Network has some problems related to privacy, which is also an important point of discussion among the community. It will be important for developers to solve that issue before releasing a final version of the LN.
Another important problem with the LN is that it is possible to double spend a previous transaction if one of the individuals involved in the transaction process is not watching. It is possible to do that because there is no validation method in the LN. If you are online, then it will be possible to take some of the money if the code punishes them if you are able to alert the code. If you are not there, then your $20 may be lost.
This is why services are trying to keep an eye for you if you pay a small fee for it, but you need to trust them.
It is important to mention that a LN protocol has never been tried before. It can be used to process micro-payments or payments where you transact with another party, but it is just question of time.