Lightning Network Reaches 10,000 Channels And Total Capacity Of 100 Bitcoins

The lightning network reached a major milestone today, with the CTO of Satoshi labs Pavol Rusnak stating that it had reached 10,000 channels with a total channel value of 100 bitcoins.

Given this huge accomplishment, it is worth providing a quick recap on what exactly the lightning network is.

The lightning network arose out of a need to solve Bitcoin’s high fees and slow transaction speeds as more and more people began conducting transactions on the network.

Specifically, the core idea behind how the lightning network works is that is possible to create small “bidirectional payment channels” that act as a running tab between two separate accounts.

The smart contracts determine how much is owed to who, but none of this is stored directly on the Bitcoin blockchain until a payment is rendered. Basically, it is a running tab system that allows for microtransactions. Allocations are made between parties off-blockchain, with all the confidence of performing commerce on-blockchain.

This approach, while not technically as secure as transacting on the blockchain directly, drastically reduces the load on the actual network, effectively outsourcing much of the processing power needed to send transactions.

After examining today’s lightning network data myself, it became apparent that today’s milestone has already been exceeded and continues to grow.

At the time of writing, there was a total of 10,105 channels open, with a channel value of 102.5 Bitcoins. This is a major leap forward for the scaling potential of the lightning network and could trigger further bullish sentiment on blockchain services making use of it in the future.

That is not the only positive lightning network adjacent news. Specifically, Bitrefill, which is a service integrated with the lightning network that allows customers to top up their phone plans with cryptocurrency, announced that it will start selling gift card vouchers to Amazon and other brands.

While the company may be little known, what this means in practice is that you can now use the lightning network to basically buy anything online.

As more and more lightning channels become used, and as more mainstream services make use of the network, (even if only to facilitate their own branded gift cards), the greater adoption of the network overall will occur.

This means in practice that the long-term vision of Bitcoin as a reliable backbone for payments and data transmission is on track. While this is great news to supporters of Bitcoin, supporters of Bitcoin Cash may want to begin questioning the overall utility of their coin as lightning is adopted more and more.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.