Bitcoin Scaling: Lightning Network Hits 1,000 Node Milestone

Lightning Network — the dominantly espoused layer-two scaling solution for bitcoin — is still very much so a work in progress. Nevertheless, the experimental network has hit the notable 1,000 node milestone, a development that will have supporters hopeful for the future and detractors as entrenched as ever. 

The Mesh Grows

The adolescent Lightning Network, the proposed mesh network of bidirectional payment channels for bitcoin, has finally achieved the 1,000 node mark.

Per the Lightning Network Explorer project, the number of LN nodes activated by press time is 1,003. Likewise, the amount of open and running channels is hovering approximately between 1,600 and 2,050. Both data points indicate the network is steadily growing.

Lightning nodes are of note, of course, in that they are responsible for routing payments throughout the network. Nodes open channels with other nodes to facilitate such payments.

In response to the news, popular bitcoin pundit “Armin van Bitcoin” made a congratulatory Twitter sound-off:

It’s an excitement and hopefulness that was echoed by Lightning Labs co-founder Elizabeth Stark herself at Blockstack Berlin just days ago.

Capacity Still Low for Now

As LN is still far from being finished, it’s not presently recommended to use large amounts of bitcoin on the network due to the possibility of bugs causing loss of funds.

As such, Lightning Network is currently handling a capacity of around ~4.6 bitcoins. That’s nothing, for all intents and purposes.

To that end, it’ll be very interesting to see how much capacity and how many nodes the Lightning Network has five or 10 years from now. Or whether LN will be superseded by some future alternative layer-two scaling solution. In the cryptoverse, you never know what’s coming — or not coming — next.

What’s your take? Are you hopeful that Lightning Network will scale bitcoin, or do you slot yourself in the camp of LN’s critics? Sound off in the comments below. 

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