Cryptocurrencies were introduced to the world as an advanced payment option and utility. Despite the controversies they caused in the financial industry, no one can deny the cutting-edge technologies they brought to our world, sparking the flame for most innovations we have today.
Bitcoin is the biggest and most popular cryptocurrency with the largest audience and market value growth, which is widely used as a tradable security and payment method.
Cryptocurrencies power fast transactions at lower fees. However, Bitcoin’s transaction speed of seven transactions per second was a hurdle over time, and the need arose to expand the bandwidth. The Lightning Network was introduced to address the speed and scalability issues of Bitcoin.
Let’s explore the Bitcoin Lightning Network and its main advantages.
Understanding the Bitcoin Lightning Network
The Lightning Network is a scaling solution developed for the Bitcoin blockchain to address its speed issues and limitations, which contributes to improving the network transaction time and processing crypto transactions instantly and with lower fees.
Bitcoin’s LN protocol adds a Layer-2 to the network, solving network congestion problems and helping bypass peak time and slow processing times. The solution creates dedicated channels for transactions that open and close instantly and charge minimum fees.
Using the Bitcoin Lightning Network, transactions happen peer-to-peer without being processed on the blockchain mainnet, which cuts time and money. Thus, the BTC blockchain is only used for settlements and loading/unloading Bitcoins from the network.
This way, the Lightning Network solution takes the pressure off the validating nodes by processing directly on the second layer. Moreover, NL protocol promotes identity preservation because transactions do not take place on the mainnet and are not publicly shared on the blockchain.
This innovation was initially built for the BTC blockchain. However, other blockchain networks started adopting this technology to power fast and secure transactions. Litecoin has already started using the Lightning Network technology to promote its own blockchain and support LTE coin transactions.
Nevertheless, decentralized projects and crypto exchange platforms use this technology to provide quick transactions that are fast and instant.
Advantages Of The Bitcoin Lightning Network
The Bitcoin LN solution has proved its worth over time, taking the pressure off the mainnet and supporting faster transactions. This technology is experiencing an increasing adoption rate because it provides the following benefits.
1. Larger Scalability
The Lightning Network solution increases the usability of Bitcoin and enables users to transact BTC in different ways, such as paying in Satoshis or high-volume operations at low fees.
The technology can be used across various blockchains that meet certain criteria, contributing to the overall improvement of decentralized ecosystems.
2. Instant Payments
Bitcoin’s Lightning Network payments go through multiple channels to reach the destination to finalize transactions in the fastest time possible.
The technology adds a second layer on the Bitcoin blockchain mainnet, processing transactions directly through the layer-2 network for instant peer-to-peer operations, avoiding blockchain congestion.
3. Supporting Micropayment
Lightning Network technology facilitates transacting with the smallest fraction of a Bitcoin, Satoshi, which equals 0.00000001 BTC. Therefore, this solution lowers the minimum transaction limits and increases the usability of BTC payment and decentralized exchanges.
This solution also fits Web 3.0 projects and crypto games that rely on micropayments and instantly sending coins.
4. Requires Less Energy
The Lightning Network processes transactions on the layer-2 network, reducing the workload on the validating nodes and mitigating the need for proof of work protocol. Therefore contributing to consuming less energy and power in the mining process.
5. Lower Network Fees
Bitcoin transactions using the Lightning Network occur using a peer-to-peer network, leading to lower transaction fees. Moreover, layer-2 payments are not processed on the mainnet, which means that less work is needed from the validating nodes and saving costs from rewarding the paying the nodes on the network.
Additionally, transacting Satoshis or fractions of the Bitcoin on the mainnet is more likely to result in higher fees than the operation amount itself. Therefore, micropayments are supported by Bitcoin’s LN to provide lower transaction costs.
6. Improved Security
Bitcoin LN transactions happen on a separate network from the blockchain mainnet. Therefore, transaction details like wallet addresses and amounts are not publicly shared on the blockchain ledger, preserving the user’s identity and privacy.
Additionally, the Lightning Network protocol uses the BOLT 12 (Basis of Lightning Technology 12) technology that introduces a new encryption model for transactions before reaching the validating nodes, besides administering the consensus process from any malicious actors.
Bitcoin Lightning Network technology was introduced to address the scalability and speed issues of the BTC blockchain. The technology works by adding a layer-2 network on the mainnet, facilitating quick transactions away from network congestion.
This innovative solution powers instant and cheaper transactions by taking the workload off the validating nodes and utilizing multiple channels to finalize payment in the fastest time possible. The LN protocol promotes Bitcoin transactions with improved scalability and increased use cases that contribute to the overall development of decentralized economies.