The Lightning Network Has More Active Nodes Than XRP, Litecoin, and EOS Combined

By Andy Hao

The Lightning Network (LN) is a scaling solution designed to reduce Bitcoin’s transaction fees and permit fast transactions.

Previously, LongHash reported on the Lightning Network’s rapid growth. The network had its mainnet launch back in 2018, and has since been on a quest towards adoption. In its current state, the Lightning Network has more active nodes than many of the industry’s most popular cryptocurrencies.


Comparing the Lightning Network to leading cryptocurrencies

Since decentralized currencies are designed to operate without intermediaries such as banks and central authorities, they instead leverage a distributed network of devices. In this system, active nodes can serve a variety of functions, such as eliminating double spending, ensuring network integrity, and transmitting data in order to allow transactions to occur.

According to 1ML, the Lightning Network boasts an estimated 3,864 nodes with active channels, and 7,284 nodes overall. This time one year ago, the amount of active Lightning Network nodes in operation was closer to 615, marking an increase of around 528%.

At press time, only two of the top five cryptocurrencies by market cap have more nodes than the Lightning Network. According to LongHash data, they are Bitcoin (10,603 reachable nodes) and Ethereum (7,580 nodes total).

The relationship between nodes and decentralization

While the amount of active nodes operating on the Lightning Network is an impressive metric when it comes to growth, cryptocurrencies vary in their approach to decentralization. As a result, active nodes are often not directly comparable between networks.

For instance, platforms like EOS were built with design choices that have resulted in the operation of fewer nodes than many of its peers. The minimum requirements to operate an EOS node are high, which likely detracts from the total number in operation.

It should go without saying that the correct approach to decentralization and network governance is subject to debate. In fact, without this debate, there would not be a need for different cryptocurrencies in the first place.

The topic is further modified by the fact that having more active nodes does not necessarily result in a greater level of decentralization. According to findings from The Block earlier this year, the largest Lightning Network nodes handle a significant portion of the network’s capacity. However, as the Lightning Network has continued to mature, this has become more distributed over time.

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