Zero to Fledgling Hero: Lightning Network Had a Solid 2018 - Bitsonline

Zero to Fledgling Hero: Lightning Network Had a Solid 2018

In a year where the cryptoeconomy had many losers, the Lightning Network wasn’t one of them. The off-chain scaling network slated for Bitcoin’s future growth went from having no throughput to facilitating more than 50 billion satoshis in volume in 2018. 

Also read: Bah Humbug: The Biggest Lumps of Crypto Coal in 2018

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It Still Has a Ways to Go, But Lightning Network Saw Impressive Actualization Since January

The cryptoeconomy may have taken a historically bearish turn in 2018, but one of the space’s more heartening storylines this year has been the exponential growth of the Bitcoin’s proposed second-layer scaling solution, the still fledgling Lightning Network.

As Casa Chief Technical Officer Jameson Lopp noted in a series of retrospective December 24th tweets, the network, which is aimed at bringing instant, low-cost transactions and massive throughput capabilities to Bitcoin, went from having only a handful of known channels to nearly 20,000 by year’s end.

Similarly, at press time the number of active LN nodes was numbered at 2,220 — up from around 1,300 this past spring.

Indeed, much of the growth has come in leaps and bounds over the last dozen months. The network’s bitcoin capacity shot up by 300 percent alone in November, for example.

And as the network’s scaling mission continues into 2019, its recent rapid acceleration seems set to continue for the foreseeable future as well.

Will the Lightning Network grow as exponentially in 2019 as it did in 2018? And what does the answer to that question mean for bitcoin going forward?

Bitcoin Neared $500 Billion in Volume on the Year, Too

Prior to his aforementioned Lightning Network tweets, Lopp highlighted Blockchain.com’s fresh estimate that bitcoin facilitated around $410 billion USD in transactions since January.

Not bad for the genesis cryptocurrency, whose whitepaper just turned 10 years old this past Halloween.

The billion satoshi question for now, then, is where that volume figure will be 10 years from today.

That’s anyone’s guess at the moment, but if the last decade was any indication, Bitcoin and the Lightning Network still have many inroads they can make yet.

Ethereum’s ‘Lightning’ Takes Leap Forward This Month

Last week, the team behind the Raiden Network — the Ethereum ecosystem’s general equivalent to the Lightning Network — released their alpha v0.100.1 Red Eyes software.

That alpha software marked the “first Raiden release on the Ethereum mainnet,” the project’s developers said.

Of course, Lightning and Raiden still have a long ways to go respectively before they can reach anything resembling real network maturity. Yet important inaugural progress is unquestionably being made by their builders in the here and now.

More importantly, that progress bodes what is to come.

What’s your take? How much capacity do you think LN will be handling at this point in 2019? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images via Rompert.com, Pixabay

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