The growth of the Lightning Network

In our previous article, we illustrated a stylized Lightning Network with 5 participants conducting 20 transactions to visualize the inner workings of Lightning. In reality, the Lightning Network consists of near 100,000 users (per August 2021).

This article covers Lightning's growth and tendencies since the launch of the Lightning Network mainnet in 2018.

This blog post is an extract from our latest report: “The State of Lightning”.

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Network capacity

In its nearly three-year history, the Lightning Network has grown to hold a bitcoin capacity of almost 3,000 BTC, with about 17,000 nodes operating on the network and 73,700 unique channels connecting nodes from across the globe. As of late September 2021, the public bitcoin capacity on lightning equals more than $120 million, with users across the world finding value in the option to conduct near-instant small payments at very negligible fees.

Lightning Network: BTC Capacity

The Lightning Network has seen two distinct phases of growth. We will cover these periods in detail in the next paragraphs. The first growth phase began shortly after the launch of Lightning's mainnet and can be categorized as a very experimental phase.

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The State of Lightning

The State of Lightning provides the most comprehensive overview of usage on the Lightning Network seen to date. The report highlights and explains the growth in network metrics, provides never before published estimates of mainstream adoption on the Lightning Network, and looks into the future. Without spoiling too much, future Lightning activity is likely measured in billions, if not trillions.
Oct 5th 2021