Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Capacity Problems Addressed with New Client

JP Buntinx | June 26, 2018 | 2:00 pm
Lightning Network
Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Capacity Problems Addressed with New Client

JP Buntinx | June 26, 2018 | 2:00 pm

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is considered to be a major development. Scaling the world’s leading cryptocurrency to new levels is not easy. Although significant progress has been made already, there are still some concerns to contend with. Big payments remain a problem, and it seems just a handful of node operators provide over 50% of the capacity.

The Lightning Network Concerns

It is safe to say people have high expectations for the Lightning Network. It is designed to make Bitcoin scale and provide lightning fast transactions. That will only happen when enough people use this technology, which is still in the beta testing phase. The initial response has been pretty positive, albeit some key flaws remain in place.

First of all, sending large payments over LN will be difficult, if not impossible. Most payment channels do not have the necessary capacity – in USD – to conduct large transactions. Despite there being over 7,800 channels, the average capacity is still just $20. As such, routing a bigger payment on the Lightning Network is a challenge and one that won’t be easy to solve. Anything over $5 will be subject to a rather high fail rate.

Furthermore, the majority of LN’s capacity is provided by just ten nodes. More specifically, those top Lightning Network nodes hold over 50% of the current funds presiding on this additional layer. It is a figure which will be subject to change. It is evident more users need to test this technology and begin conducting payments. That can only happen if new software is released to make this process easier.

A new C-Lightning Client Emerges

Thankfully, it would appear that is exactly what is happening. Blockstream unveiled a new client for the Lightning Network this week. C-Lightning 0.6 is a modular and extensible client which will suit the needs of more users accordingly. Giving users more customization options in this regard will always be appreciated. This may be the solution to improve overall adoption of LN technology among Bitcoin users as well.

New features provided by C-Lightning are well worth keeping an eye on. The lightweight nodes feature makes it easier to set up a LN node. Being able to communicate to remote nodes is a pretty big development for this relatively new protocol. Additionally, the new client has a built-in wallet for both on-chain and off-chain funds. Another more than welcome update for LN enthusiasts.

All of this shows there is still a bright future ahead for the Lightning Network. Until Bitcoin users embrace this solution, there will not be any major challenges. However, it would appear the software clients make it significantly easier to embrace this new technology. When that happens, overall network liquidity will improve and the payment layer can be put through its paces properly.

 

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