Lightning Network hits massive capacity growth in just a month

Decentralised micro-payment system sees growth rocket more than 300% after adding more than 300 BTC in extra network capacity over the past few weeks

The Lightning Network has just hit 450 BTC network capacity – a remarkable 300% growth rate for the network that only just reached 125 BTC capacity on the 14th November.

450 BTC represents more than $1.6 million of transaction throughput, that is now possible across a network of more than 4,200 nodes. Transactions up to the capacity can be instantly confirmed across the network, for fees as low as one Satoshi.

Hashed timelock contracts

The project started out as a proposed implementation of hashed timelock contracts. It was originally developed under a whitepaper written by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja in 2015.

After the whitepaper was proposed, three distinct teams at Blockstream, Lightning Labs, and ACINQ lead the developments of their own implementations for the network. The network is designed in a way to allow participants to transfer money to each other without having to make all their transactions public on the Bitcoin blockchain.

This is done by penalising uncooperative participants, through time-based script extensions like CheckSequenceVerify and CheckLockTimeVerify

At its core, Lightning is a decentralised system for instant and high-volume micro payments (with an ability to reduce the risk required to trusted third parties).

As it stands today, it’s one of the biggest deployments of a multi-party smart contract in the world. It achieves this by using Bitcoin’s built-in scripting language to lock BTC in and out of Lightning channels across the network.

The network explorer at 1ML.com gives users a chance to explore the Lightning Network by using its search and analysis engine. The site includes a full block explorer and the ability to monitor major Lightning channel changes across a range of ten different directories of network users – directories include financial, marketplace, games and media.

A wave of hardware nodes

Being as Lightning is an open network to participate in, a number of hardware projects have been seen like those of Lucas Nuzz who built his own node using a raspberry pie and a 1988 television.

Other examples include Damian Mee, who built his own portable node to use while walking around the recent Scaling Bitcoin conference.

If you don’t fancy building your own node you can now also just buy one directly from the Casa project. They are selling a $300 Lightning and Bitcoin full node.

Features of the casa node include the ability to plug and play with its pre-synced hardware and make/receive Lightning payments – no coding required.

When use case?

Last month Coin Rivet brought you the story of how the creator of Litecoin – Charlie Lee – had been using a combination of Litecoin and the Lightning Network to ‘instantly’ buy Amazon gift cards.

If you don’t fancy buying Amazon gift cards you can also check out other interesting projects on lightningnetworkstores.com.

On the site, they list hundreds of live lightning stores for users to try. The list includes slot machines all the way to buying peanut butter via Lightning. 

 

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