This time last year, debates about the Bitcoin Lightning Network were largely theoretical since there were fewer than 8,000 nodes in total. Fast forward to late September 2021 – 2.1 million people are using a Lightning Network-enabled wallet to send Bitcoin and Twitter has launched Bitcoin payments by integrating the LN-enabled Strike API.
What’s more, according to a recent update, Bitcoin Lightning Network metrics have been hitting new all-time highs recently.
#Bitcoin Lightning Network⚡️metrics continue hitting all-time-highs this week.
Lightning Node count hits 15.6k
Total channel count is up to 73k
Channel capacity is up 22% in Sept to 2,904 $BTC
— Yann & Jan (@Negentropic_) September 27, 2021
The aforementioned metrics highlight not only the Lightning Network’s growth but also raises the pertinent question of whether it could support millions or even billions of users in the future.
What do these metrics say?
According to Glassnode’s latest data, the Lightning Network node count was 15,710, at press time.
Meanwhile, the channel count was 72,636, with the same dropping slightly from its recently-recorded high.
Finally, the channel capacity was over 2,926 BTC too.
Glassnode Insights called the growth “extraordinary” and stated,
“Total BTC capacity in LN channels has seen explosive growth over the last nine months, rising 170% in 2021 to reach 2,904 BTC (~$127M). 514 of these coins were added to LN channels in September alone.”
Glassnode Insights also noted how Twitter’s crypto-payment launch and Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador have both affected the Lightning Network’s growth over the past few weeks.
In spite of the Lightning Network’s recent performance, however, not everyone is convinced.
Crypto-influencer Mr. Whale, for instance, has claimed that the Lightning Network is centralized, unable to scale to required sizes. It is also vulnerable to multiple kinds of attacks, he claimed/
In a recent blog post, the proponent had gone as far as claiming,
“As of now, the network can only process around 2,800 Bitcoin, which is around 0.0001% of Bitcoin’s total supply. With the billions worth of Bitcoin being transacted daily, this just isn’t realistic at all.”
Even so, other traders and analysts are certain that the Bitcoin Lightning Network will overtake payment giants.
Western Union vs Lightning Network is like Blockbuster Video vs Netflix.
Their business bet on physical money with branches worldwide.
This is ironic for a company that started as a telecommunications business, later expanding into transmission of funds down a wire. https://t.co/hZPSeg4vWL
— Willy Woo (@woonomic) September 23, 2021
The growth of the Lightning Network could also be linked to the price of Bitcoin itself. One estimate in Bitcoin Magazine, for instance, combined the market caps of the global remittance industry, the influencer marketing industry, and the digital payment markets worldwide with Twitter Tips included, to propose that the value of one BTC could cross $300,000.
Eyes on El Salvador
In El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele also shared some statistics from the Lightning Network-enabled state Chivo wallet. Despite the 65,437 transactions per second rate, however, President Bukele clarified that a single transaction still takes several seconds to complete.
“Transacciones por segundo” doesn’t mean that we have 65,437 new transactions every sec, but that the system is processing an average of 65,437 transactions every sec.
Remember a single transaction takes several secs.
Don’t try to figure out total daily transactions with this.
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) September 27, 2021
As more people use the Chivo wallet and the Strike API goes mainstream, analysts and investors will undoubtedly be watching the Lightning Network mark new highs.
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