The below is a direct excerpt of Marty's Bent Issue #1109: "A neural network is developing between Lightning Nodes." Sign up for the newsletter here.
Above is a visualization of the current Lightning Network topography made up of ~16,000 Lightning Nodes with ~140,000 payment channels opened between them. I don't know if I'm simply being duped by some visualization magic, but I can't help but think that we are all witnessing the emergence of something massive. Something that will have a profound effect on humanity that we can't quite comprehend yet. The topography that is emerging on the Lightning Network seems to be mimicking many things we find in nature as long time Bitcoin Core maintainer Wladimir van der Laan points out below.
I can't quite articulate it and I don't really have any concrete metrics to highlight, but this seems to be the way in which we would want the network topography to emerge; in a grassroots way that mimics the way complex systems of all different sizes tend to emerge in nature. Things like rivers, mycelium, neural pathways, and the cosmos. Again, there's nothing really concrete I can point to to explain what I believe is happening. It's more of an intuitive feeling that makes me believe we are on the right path.
Pulling on that thread, I also have a feeling we are at the precipice of an inflection point when it comes to Lightning Network adoption and innovation. Obviously there has been much progress made and the network is being stress tested with merchant adoption in El Salvador, but it feels as if we are approaching a moment where more and more builders are going to begin coming off the sidelines to bring new products to market that leverage Lightning. I could be wrong, it's simply a feeling I have and my feelings may be a bit biased. We shall see.
There is still much work to be done in regards to improving the security and privacy of the network for its users. I believe these areas will see significant improvement as well over the course of the next two to three years.