Bitcoin’s second-layer settlement solution, the so-called Lightening Network, is growing by leaps and bounds, even as the preeminent cryptocurrency sinks in value versus fiat currencies to new yearly lows.
The Network has grown in the last 30 days across all metrics: in terms of the amount of nodes, channels, and bitcoin living on the network, according to the 1ML statistics website dedicated to tracking the network.
The amount of bitcoin stored on the network is of particular note, growing a whopping 300%+ in just one month. Nearly $1.6 million worth of bitcoin, in current valuation, is now stored in Lightning channels. The number of channels is up over 40% versus last month, to 13,000; and the number of nodes is up 9.5%, to about 4,400 nodes.
Longhash reports that the amount of Lightning channels has increased sixteen times since the start of 2018. Users store bitcoin in Lightning Network payment channels, in order to have it ready to conduct peer-to-peer transactions off-chain. Once the channel is closed, the transactions are then settled on-chain - on the Bitcoin blockchain.
All About Lightning
The news comes as a ray of sunny good news for those still watching the cryptoasset industry and its developments - except, of course, if one is in the camp that opposes off-chain solutions for Bitcoin’s scaling problems.
The question of how to scale the Bitcoin network - on-chain or off-chain - is a long standing bone of contention that mostly prompted last year’s fork of Bitcoin to Bitcoin Cash. The issue prompted one of Bitcoin’s earliest developers, Mike Hearn, to quit his role in development and completely leave the space a couple of years ago. Opponents of the Lightning solution argue that all transactions should be stored on the blockchain, with their prefered solution being to increase the file size of blocks.
It is important to note that not only bitcoin can be sent using the Lightning Network. Other blockchains can transact on the Network if they support its protocol. The Lightning Network also has a mobile solution called Neutrino in development, which is operational at an alpha stage.