Bitcoin Lightning Network growth jumps 1,200% in 2 years

Bitcoin Lightning Network growth jumps 1,200% in 2 years

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Bitcoin’s layer 2 Lightning Network has seen an estimated 1,212% growth in two years, with around 6.6 million routed transactions in August, a significant jump compared to August 2021’s 503,000 transitions, according to data from the Bitcoin (BTC)-only exchange River.

In an Oct. 10 report, River research analyst Sam Wouters explained the jump in routed transactions — which use more than two nodes to facilitate a transfer — came despite a 44% fall in Bitcoin’s price and considerably less online search interest.

“‘Nobody is using Lightning’ should now be a dead meme,” Wouters said in an Oct. 10 follow-up X (Twitter) post, taking a shot at Lightning critics.

River’s 6.6 million figure for Lightning routed transactions is a lower-bound estimate — the smallest possible value it could assess. The firm also sourced August 2021’s 503,000 figure from a 2021 study by K33, formerly Arcane Research and added it could not assess private Lightning transactions or those between only two participants.

Estimated growth of monthly routed Bitcoin Lightning transactions. Source: River

$78.2 million in transaction volume was also processed on Lightning in August 2023, marking a 546% increase from August 2021’s $12.1 million figure sourced by K33. Wouters noted that Lightning is now processing at least 47% of Bitcoin’s on-chain transactions.

“This will be an interesting metric to monitor,” he added. “It is an indicator of Bitcoin becoming more of a medium of exchange.”

Estimated growth of monthly routed Bitcoin Lightning transaction volume. Source: River

In August 2023, the average Lightning transaction size was around 44,700 satoshis or $11.84. River estimated between 279,000 and 1.1 million Lightning users were active in September.

The firm attributed 27% of transaction growth to the gaming, social media tipping and streaming sectors.

Related: Coinbase to integrate Bitcoin Lightning Network: CEO Brian Armstrong

River said the Lightning payments success rate was 99.7% on its platform in August 2023 across 308,000 transactions. The main reason for failure occurs when no payment route can be found that has enough liquidity to facilitate the transfer.

River’s data set consisted of 2.5 million transactions. The nodes in River’s data set represent 29% of all the capacity on the network and 10% of payment channels.

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