While Bitcoin’s Lightning Network was once just a theory — and one in which many people felt it would never come to fruition or be successful — it has shown great strength so far. Still a far cry from being in its full-fledged form, it has allowed many to start creating new services that really help showcase just how powerful the LN can be and various use cases for it in the real world.
Still in its Infancy
The Lightning Network is still considered as being potentially unstable while evaluating it, but it has grown in adoption significantly. As of this writing, there are a total of over 31 BTC in various channels, or over $207,000 as per the current exchange rate. While this may seem like a small amount compared to the overall market cap of Bitcoin, it’s a sign that not only are people getting more comfortable with utilizing the new system, but they are entrusting it with actual sums of money – not just a dollar here or there.
As it continues to show growth and new supported services and wallets come out, the number of people utilizing it will continue to grow, as well as the amount of funds that are able to pass through each of the channels, which opens the doors for even greater usage across the network.
More Users Means More Liquidity
A great feature when it comes to the LN is that with more channels open (and more funds tied up in them), the number of transactions the system can process continues to grow. This is a lot like the cryptocurrency IOTA and its “Tangle.” In theory, it can process an unlimited number of transactions per second, ultimately passing up the likes of Visa and MasterCard, among others. Furthermore, it allows for the transactions to occur quickly and with negligible fees.
The number of use cases for the LN is staggering, with new ideas constantly coming out. For example, it allows for anything the old Bitcoin does. But on top of this, it can also be used for things like:
- Actively being charged for a service (think Netflix) only for the time you’re using it
- Lotteries with small buy-ins
- Small purchases
- Uber/Lyft-style services where you’re charged as the drive is taking place
The number of possibilities is truly endless. With its almost non-existent fees and ability to ensure that funds are safe and secure, it is showing to be the perfect way to handle many of our current headaches.
To get involved with the LN and start using it, you can snag one of the many wallets that now support it, such as those you can find here. There are also many new services and wallets still coming online, so the list is ever-growing. And as the ecosystem supporting it continues to grow, existing wallets will more than likely start adopting it as well – at least once it is deemed to be stable enough to trust. And, of course, just using a wallet and sending funds is not the only way to get involved. Things like helping with development and attempting to break the system are also beneficial, as they work to secure it further and find potential flaws before they can become a real problem. For more information about the LN, you can also visit the official site, but we will also keep you updated on its progress!