Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Sets Up for a Major 2019 Rollout While Current Capacity Crosses 540 BTC

Lightning Network (LN) has been gaining a lot of traction lately and looks like 2019 is going to be the year that will see major improvements to this network.

LN is “a decentralized network using smart contract functionality in the blockchain to enable instant payments across a network of participants.”

The goal is to make bitcoin and blockchain transactions instant and scalable. Since the second half of 2018, Lightning Network has been seeing a lot of development and growth. According to the data provided by 1ML, the capacity has reached 542.66 BTC that amounts to over 2 billion at its current price.

The network capacity has risen from December end’s 500 BTC.

Meanwhile, the number of nodes has gone above 5,500. Seeing a growth of more than 18 percent, the figure has reached 5,519 to be exact.

With over 40 percent growth, the number of channels has crossed 20,890.

What’s in the Pipeline for 2019?

According to the latest post by crypto researcher and analyst Arjun Balaji on the infrastructure of Lightning Network, he shared what’s in the pipeline for LN when it comes to development. 2019 will be seeing improvement in security guarantees in the system, maximization of the liquidity, improving the privacy, and simplification of UX.

Usability, privacy, liquidity provisioning, and security are the key areas the improvements will be focused on which he points out,

“A bulk of these improvements are slated for inclusion over the course of the year, setting up for a big year for the Lightning Network.”

Neutrino: It is in active development and is expected to fully hit mainnet this year. A lightweight client, this is aimed at

“[minimizing] bandwidth and storage use…while attempting to preserve privacy.” This means users won't have to run full nodes to operate a lightning wallet.

Submarine Swaps: It is to make off-chain and on-chain payments more seamless and will also help in mitigating the concern involving router imbalances.

Dual Funded Channels: “With adoption growth, dual-funded channels allow even larger liquidity provisioners like exchanges to more easily onboard users to the Lightning Network by providing incoming channel capacity.”

Atomic Multi-Path Payments (AMP): This will improve the UX around payment routing along with liquidity in the Lightning Network.

Splicing: Increasing the capacity of a channel or taking money on-chain is a time consuming process and requires closing a channel. By cutting the middleman, splicing will allow users to coordinate an on-chain transaction to add or remove funds from a channel.

Wumbology: Currently, the channel size limit of LN is 0.16 BTC and 0.04 BTC payment limit. This proposal will bring greater liquidity to the network as channel capacities increase which represents a big step in the network’s maturity.

Sphinx-send: Sphinx constructed routes will allow the identity of a seller to be obscure and will further allow Lightning to work without having recipients request invoices first.

Watchtowers: Watchtowers, that will be run and operated by third parties will provide an additional guarantee that users aren’t being cheated by their counterparties.

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