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Bitcoin Lightning Network Capacity charges through 4,000 BTC


There’s cause for celebration from the world’s largest cryptocurrency. The Lightning Network hit the 4,000 Bitcoin (BTC) public capacity milestone, meaning $120 million in value is ready for peer-to-peer payments.

The Lightning Network first broke the 1,000 BTC barrier in August 2020 and the 2,000 BTC barrier in July 2021. The capacity has doubled in the space of 18 months.

Lightning Network capacity growth since January 2022. Source: Glassnode.

CoinCorner CEO Daniel Scott told Cointelegraph that “we had slow and steady growth with Lightning capacity to begin, but since Jan 2021 the uptick has been strong.”

Danny Brewster, CEO of United Kingdom-based Bitcoin exchange Fast Bitcoins told Cointelegraph that Lightning Network capacity “likely passed 4k a long time ago with private channel metrics not being publicly available.”

“With that being said, the constant growth has been a great start for the Lightning Network and I foresee it continuing into the future, as long as all stakeholders, from developers to entrepreneurs building businesses continue to push forward.”

A layer-2 payment protocol built on Bitcoin’s base layer, the Lightning Network allows for near-instant transaction finality. In the following video, Paco de la India — a Bitcoin-powered world traveler — buys a pair of shorts from Mozambique-based Bitcoiner Jorge, using the Lightning Network:

Lead on-chain analyst for Glassnode, James Check, told Cointelegraph, “The expansion of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network appears to be transitioning out of the ‘reckless’ phase, and into proper experimentation by early adopters.”

Related: The Lightning Network Lunch: A Bitcoin contactless payment story

“As wallet designs and user experience improve, more kinks can be worked out, and the network will mature. The persistent growth of public Lightning capacity and channel count is a reflection of this vote of growing confidence and growing utilization,” he said.

Scott agreed, sharing that the positive trend is likely to continue “as more companies adopt Lightning and we see more use cases come to fruition.”

“The influence of El Salvador adopting Bitcoin seems to have been an inflection point for Lightning, giving it confidence and proving a real-world use case.”

According to data from 1ML, the average and median transaction cost for sending Satoshis (the smallest denomination of a Bitcoin) over the Lightning is well under $0.01, proving it packs a punch as payment technology. 

Brewster concludes, it’s an “awesome start but a long way to go. It really is still early!”