The network has quietly grown by a factor of two over the past year, with everyday users and major exchanges embracing the scaling technology.
The number of nodes on Bitcoin’s Lightning network has nearly doubled year over year, according to public data.
The Lightning Network – a layer atop the Bitcoin blockchain that uses its own special rules to facilitate cheaper, faster transactions – had about 5,335 public nodes in April 2020. Now that number sits at 10,348, a roughly 94% increase. This figure only includes nodes with public connections, however, and the real number is likely higher when factoring nodes with private connections.
As Bitcoin’s on-chain fees grow alongside bitcoin’s price, scaling technologies like Lightning offer users a cheaper and faster way to transact. If bitcoin will ever be used as a day-to-day currency, a scaling solution like Lightning is paramount, and avid bitcoiners even use the network today to purchase goods and services.
Consider this Iranian Lightning user who used bitcoin to buy a PlayStation Now pass that is otherwise restricted by sanctions:
With Bitcoin’s Lightning network seeing more activity than ever, the total number of payment channels on the network (the two-way payment avenues that power Lightning’s plumbing) is now over 45,000. The Lightning Network currently holds 1,185 BTC, worth some $69 million.