Attempting to serve as a solution to the current scaling issues that plague digital currencies like Bitcoin, the Lightning Network is continuing its recent trend of furthered adoption. Now, there are over 1,000 nodes active on the mainnet, signaling growth and adoption of the platform.
The 1,000-node milestone is double the mainnet’s previous achievement of surpassing 500 LN nodes last month and follows a media trend highlighting the scaling solution’s progress as it journeys towards an official release.
This media trend was also observed through the Lightning Network’s use in a recent purchase of a physical good; pizza. Last month, a figure famous for making the world’s first documented physical purchase with bitcoin made headlines once again when he repeated the purchase via the Lightning Network, years later. At the time, Laszlo Hanyecz traded 10,000 BTC for two pizzas, marking a significant milestone. When he repeated the purchase in February of this year, he paid less than a hundredth of a bitcoin, and made the world’s first physical transaction via the Lightning Network. This signified what could be the beginning of a new era for Bitcoin.
The Lightning Network provides off-chain scaling solutions
Advocates of the Lightning Network believe that it will serve as a scaling solution to the current issues that Bitcoin faces in its attempt to sustain itself and serve as a feasible avenue for day-to-day spending.
The Lightning Network is known as an off-chain scaling solution, meaning that it aims to reduce the number of transactions conducted directly on the blockchain. This is because blockchains – like the one that Bitcoin uses – conduct transactions on each node in the network, greatly slowing down the transaction process.
While the current method of processing each and every transaction on the blockchain is highly secure, experts warn that it is not currently sustainable due to the sheer number of active computers participating in the Bitcoin economy.
The Lightning Network protocol aims to instead allow transactions to occur through “payment channels” which will greatly reduce the number of transactions handled directly on the blockchain.
Future-proofing digital currencies
While the Lightning Network is not the only solution currently in development that aims to tackle Bitcoin’s scaling issues, advocates continue to praise its adoption. Generally, the community sees the protocol as less divisive than on-chain scaling solutions like Bitcoin Cash, which is often a point of contention within the community due to questions of both its intention and necessity.
Meanwhile, Ethereum is currently experimenting with its own proposed scaling solutions which aim to tackle many of the same issues currently impeding Bitcoin.
With more nodes operating on Lightning Network’s mainnet, proponents believe that widespread adoption could be on the horizon after the official protocol release. Currently, interested parties can track the development of the Lightning Network on GitHub.