November was a big month for the Bitcoin.
As much of the focus for the month was around the explosive Bitcoin Cash hash war, and ever-deepening bear market, the Bitcoin Lightning Network quietly saw a significant jump in its number of channels, capacity per channel and total network capacity.
The network is still in its infancy, but although there is still a long way to go before the Lightning Network is handling a major portion of Bitcoin transactions, the technical increases from last month are significant.
Throughout November the total number of network channels jumped from 9,053 to 12,590, average channel capacity doubled from $76 to $149, and total network capacity made the largest monthly increase since July with growth of over 172%.
Coupled with the capacity of the Bitcoin Lightning Network increasing is the news that blockchain service provider, Bitfury, announced this week that they would be partnering with payment service Paytomat to bring the Lightning Network to the Paytomat wallet and merchant app.
The head of the Bitfury team focusing on building on top of the Lightning Network, known as LightningPeach, had this to say about the Paytomat partnership:
“The launch of the Lightning Network allows consumers around the world to use cryptocurrencies to make everyday purchases. Through partnerships like Paytomat, we are one step closer to making every point of service terminal cryptocurrency-friendly and Lightning Network-enabled.”
The Lightning Network is Bitcoin’s solution to scaleability issues which have plagued the world’s number one digital currency, as poignant questions had been raised about it being able to be used for payments which can be made near-instantaneously.
This issue (amongst others) was divisive enough within the Bitcoin community to contribute heavily to the 2017 hard-fork and split of Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash. The lightning network runs in direct competition to the value offering of Bitcoin Cash, which was created essentially as a means to allowing Bitcoin to be used for everyday payments as well as it being a store of value.
What is an exciting development for supporters of the Lightning Network are videos recently published on social media showing users making instantaneous payments for real-world goods using the nascent tech.
Bitcoin enthusiasts in Tehran, Iran and Brisbane, Australia, have uploaded videos showing that transactions in both cases are quick and relatively effortless.
As price of Bitcoin has sharply dropped throughout 2018, those paying attention to technological developments within the project have remained confident about the longterm value and efficacy of Bitcoin as tool to unlock a new era of digital finance and commerce.
As with many new technologies before, it will be a slow start to the widespread adoption of Bitcoin as an instrument of payment that anyone can use. Saying that however, from the earliest days of the currency until today, great leaps have been made in its adoption, education and evolution of the usability of Bitcoin.
For many globally, the intricacies of blockchain tech are still too foreign to use at all, let alone on a daily basis. However adaptations and improvements which facilitate easy use, such as the Lightning Network, will see compounding returns as layers are built on top of Bitcoin’s core technology, and more and more platforms integrate it into their systems.