The number of nodes in the Bitcoin Lightning network nearly doubled year after year, according to public data. The Lightning Network – a layer on the Bitcoin blockchain that uses its own rules to facilitate cheaper and faster transactions – was about 5,335 we public in April 2020. Now that number is 10,348, an increase of approximately 94%. This figure includes only nodes with public connections, however, and the actual number is likely to be higher when factoring nodes with private connections.Number of nodes in the Bitcoin LN. Source: Bitcoin Visuals. As Bitcoin's on-chain rates rise along with the price of the currency, scalability solutions like Lightning offer users a cheaper and faster way to transact. If bitcoin is ever used as day-to-day currency by a large number of people, a solution like Lightning is critical, and some bitcoiners even use the network today to buy goods and services.
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Consider this Iranian Lightning user who used bitcoin to buy a PlayStation Now pass that is otherwise restricted by sanctions: With the Lightning network having more activity than ever, the total number of payment channels on the network (the payment routes) bidirectional devices that power Lightning's “bridges”) now exceeds 45,000. The Lightning Network currently holds 1,185 BTC, in the amount of approximately R $ 382 million.
Adoption of the Lightning Network
Although introduced in 2017, the past two years have been critical to Lightning's growth. At the end of 2020, exchange Kraken announced it would support the feature. Before it, the only major exchanges to adopt Lightning were Bitfinex and River Financial. Integrations make it cheaper for your customers to deposit and withdraw bitcoin, often paying pennies in fees instead of the amounts that amount to more than $ 10 that they can pay on the main Bitcoin network. United, the oldest exchange in Vietnam and OKCoin followed suit with their own Lightning integrations. In addition, Jack Mallers' Strike – a Venmo-style payment application that uses Lightning to settle US dollars and other fiduciary balances – left the beta version this year and will be released soon in several markets. With companies adding Lightning, the network's liquidity and routing capabilities are improving. User-friendly apps like Strike are also making it easier to integrate users with what has historically been an even harder technology for beginners to use than Bitcoin.Read more: 2022 will be a key year for the Lightning Network, says owner of Bitcoin.org