Lightning Strikes! LN Mainnet Reaches 1,000 Nodes

BitFury Flare Lightning Network Bitcoin Scaling
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The Lightning Network (LN) notched another historic achievement over the weekend, as the LN mainnet reached 1,000 active nodes for the first time in its short history.

Lightning Network Mainnet Reaches 1,000 Active Nodes

That’s despite the fact that this nascent second-layer technology, thought by many to be a solution to Bitcoin’s scaling dilemma, remains in alpha-stage testing and has yet to receive a production release.

lightning network
Lightning Network Nodes and Payment Channels | Source: Twitter/Armin van Bitcoin

Owing to this fact, users have yet to use it to transact meaningful capital. The network is only holding about 4.5 BTC, worth about $43,000 at the present exchange rate. Moreover, nearly forty percent of network-connected nodes do not have any active payment channels.

lightning network
LN Nodes With (Blue) and Without (Green) Open Payment Channels | Source: BitcoinVisuals

Nevertheless, this level of mainnet adoption is remarkable for a technology that, officially, is still in testing. For reference, there are currently just over 11,000 active nodes on the Bitcoin network, according to according to CoinDance data. Bitcoin Cash, whose departure from the main Bitcoin blockchain was largely in response to its embrace of Lightning and off-chain scaling solutions, currently has 1,883 active nodes.

Lightning Speeds Toward User Adoption

Even more remarkable is how quickly users have flocked to the LN mainnet, a clear indication that enthusiasm for this scaling technology remains high.

As CCN reported, the LN testnet launched in December, but it was not long before brave (or perhaps foolhardy) users began setting up mainnet LN nodes as well.

In January, VPN provider TorGuard began accepting mainnet LN payments, and before long the company had received the first verified LN transaction that included the sale of a physical product.

Last month, Austrian startup Coinfinity executed the first LN-based Bitcoin ATM transaction. Then, the LN mainnet added its 1,000th payment channel, a development that occurred shortly before Zap — a cross-platform LN wallet — received a beta release. Finally, Laszlo Hanyecz — better known as the early Bitcoin user who spent 10,000 BTC on a pizza in 2010 — christened the Lightning Network with a similar transaction.

Meanwhile, the beta version of the Lightning software appears to be nearing its release, though it is unclear when this will occur.

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Josiah is an assistant editor at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.