The bitcoin capacity of the Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s layer-2 scaling solution, keeps hitting new all-time highs every week. The network now houses over 2,400 BTC in more than 73,000 channels. Since bitcoin officially became a legal tender in El Salvador on September 7, Lightning saw almost 2,000 new channels opened and 100 additional bitcoin stored in them.
As the network advances in functionality and usability and more people get enlightened on the positive upsides inherent to adopting the technology, it becomes more significant in the Bitcoin ecosystem. As a result, it ends up housing more BTC and posing itself as one of the definitive answers to the base layer’s scaling issue.
Bitcoin and Lightning together generate a positive reinforcement loop. Bitcoin education will naturally lead people to Lightning, which in turn increases Bitcoin usage frequency, given the layer-2’s focus on small payments. The easier it is to perform cheap and quick payments with bitcoin through Lightning, the more people will use Bitcoin, propelling it toward becoming an established medium of exchange.
El Salvador has been playing an important role in Bitcoin and Lightning awareness and adoption, even beyond its borders. Besides putting both technologies on the central stage, the Central American nation has been showing how using BTC to pay for a McDonald’s breakfast is not only possible but cheap and quick as well, providing a proof of concept other countries can leverage.
The open infrastructure around Bitcoin and Lightning, compared to the closed one that surrounds the traditional banking system, enables more efficient innovation. Moreover, it empowers citizens to choose the app, technology, and money they wish to use for each use case in their day-to-day life. Whether you want to save in BTC and spend dollars or fully embark on a bitcoin standard, you can do as you please in El Salvador, thanks to Bitcoin and Lightning.
The Lightning Network, proposed in 2015 and launched as a beta in 2018, has come a long way in development and adoption. Continuous dedication from developers has been ensuring sustained adoption growth and increased technical robustness, powered by enhanced usability. Today, all an average person needs to access Bitcoin through Lightning is their mobile phone, efficiently achieving a good level of independence from traditional finance and being able to transact value effortlessly while paying close-to-no fees for it. It doesn’t come without its tradeoffs, for sure, but both Bitcoin and Lightning also enable any user to climb up the sovereignty and privacy ladder as they please.