Bitcoin visual data reflects, that the network capacity of the Bitcoin Lightning network has grown by 85 percent in the last 30 days, increasing Lightning’s total capacity to 97 BTC (over $ 600,000).
The Bitcoin Lightning network was released in beta in early 2018 (there are three versions in total). Since then, especially since the second quarter of 2018, there has been a strong increase in its capacity.
The number of nodes in the Bitcoin Lightning network has broken through the 3,000 for the first time in recent days. On August 8, with 7,993 payment channels, it was scratched at the 8,000 mark for channels.
Total Lightning network capacity in Bitcoin has risen to 97 BTC.
As the graph shows, there was a significant increase in July. At that time, a single node made the network grow by over 35 BTC capacity, which was doubling at the time.
Andreas Brekken, the founder of the shitcoin.com website and well-known Bitcoin cash advocate, had opened a node and a variety of payment channels at that time and became the largest node in the Lightning network. Brekken was named “King of Nodes” on Twitter.
On Twitter, he said he would do a “review” of the Lightning Network for his website. Although many saw the test and especially the planned review of Brekken critical. However, many users on Reddit also see the test as a chance to put the Lightning network to a “hard” test.
This node has disappeared since July 27th, after Brekken has finished his test (as can be clearly seen in the chart).
Lightning’s total network capacity then dropped from 114 BTC to 75 BTC. Since then, Brekken has left familiar networks such as Bitrefill.
Despite the continued rapid growth of Lightning, the criticism continues, the proponents now begin to counteract.
There is a criticism of the Lightning Network because Lightning could possibly promote the centralization of the network. If two parties do not have the (technical) possibilities to open their own payment channel, they can use the third node to exchange transactions with each other. Now, if a large company, such as a financial institution, opens a node and offers its customers payment channels, centralization could occur.
In response to claims made by Bitcoin.com partner David Shares that the nodes of Lightning are centralized, the developer is known as StopAndDecrypt has reacted that the way “visual maps” represent them creates the illusion of centralization. In a blog post on Hackernoon he wrote:
The fact is, network graphics really have a terrible task to show you the Lightning Network. It’s nice and fun to play with it, but it brings with it an analytical injustice.
Via Twitter he shared a decentralized visual map which, in contrast to the usual, gives a very different impression.
To the Lightning Network
The Lightning network is based on a technology called “Payment Channels”. The payment channels are used to execute the payments outside the bitcoin blockchain (“off-chain”). The advantage of this approach is that the transactions do not have to be immediately validated by the miners.
Instead of writing many (smaller) transactions into the blockchain, the two parties to a payment channel can decide over what period of time they leave the channel open, allowing the ongoing payments and when the transactions are getting included in the Bitcoin blockchain.
If this happens, the parties of the payment channel have a private key. Only when both parties sign with their key, signaling that the transaction is completed, the total amount or the balance is written to the blockchain and the channel is closed.