Lightning network, the Bitcoin scalability solution everybody has been waiting for has finally arrived - making a dramatic entrance into Bitcoin story.
Bitcoin's march towards mainstream adoption has recently been bogged down by expensive and slow transactions and the scalability solution a majority of players in the industry agreed on (not Bitcoin Cash or 8MB blocks) is now live.
The lightning network is a proposed solution to Bitcoin's scaling problem. It is a second tier network built on top of Bitcoin's main network to facilitate quicker transactions at a cheaper rate. The network was recently deployed in a test phasewith over 1268 nodes and 4240 channels already opened on it.
Developers are still working on it though to optimize and make it better before it is deployed on the main net.
Lightning Network rush
However, people are impatient. The lightning network is the holy grail and some people are tired of the suspense. They want the lightning network and they want it now. Their rush is understandable - lightning network promises instant transactions at almost zero cost.
This is why some individuals, and firms like Blockstream, are already using this new tech on Bitcoin's main network. Blockstream actually launched an online store where the mode of payment would be through the lightning network.
This is despite several warnings from the wary and developers that the network is still under development and isn't ready for adoption on the main net.
Already, main net implementations of lightning already have over 299 nodes and 814 channels at the moment and there are no signs of the numbers abating. This contrasts strongly with detractors from the Bcash community that the lightning network brings some form of centralization to the crypto coin.
Rush hour implications - good or bad?
20 bugs were found 14 hours after Blockstream deployed the tech but the firm said no one lost any money. However, some people did lose their Bitcoins after opening channels on the network. In addition, this development is distracting the developers working on the network. They don't like the intrusion and prefer to work in peace.
Many opined that prematurely running the lightning network on the main net could lead to devastating results which would hamper the development of the technology. However, a number of people believe launching the network on the main net now is the way to go.
"I think it's time for [Lightning Network] to go live, even if still buggy. But this is the best way to harden it," someone said on Twitter.
CSO of Blockstream Samsom Mow echoed this perspective on Twitter: "Using Lightning Network on main net isn't just bug fixing, stickers and being #reckless. It's also learning about usability issues that we may not be considered", he said.
Right or wrong, Bitcoin has established itself as the ideal peer-to-peer payment system and won't be going away anytime soon.