The Death of Altcoins? Lightning Network Growing Rapidly, Nodes Now Exceed Those of Bitcoin Cash
Although still fresh off developers’ drawing boards, the Lightning Network is experiencing rapid adoption and already runs more active nodes than bitcoin cash. The most recent statistics point to Lightning’s marginal lead over BCH.
A network to network comparison of active nodes shows bitcoin cash (ABC) with 1,287 nodes compared to the Lightning Network’s 1,362 active nodes. Viewed against the fact that in mid-January 2018, the Lightning Network had only around 29 active nodes, the growth is impressive.
Lightning Grows Amid DDoS Attacks
On March 20, 2018, the Lightning Network suffered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that shut down around 200 nodes. A hacker known on social media only as BitPico has allegedly taken credit for the attack. In the dawning node and network space, opposing users often find expression of their preferences by tampering with networks and even exchanges to show up weaknesses or prove a point.
Many users are reporting that they have suffered attacks from the start of their employment of the Lightning Network. Although BitPico’s Twitter page is cryptocurrency-oriented, nowhere on the page does the tweeter claim responsibility for the DDoS attack on LN.
In spite of slightly varying figures being available for the number of LN versus BCH nodes, they don’t vary by much. All put LN ahead of BCH. Node count is an accepted measure of a network’s reach, and figures for LN point to between 1.347 – 1,362 active nodes, depending on the source of the statistics.
Active nodes also shine a light on the decentralization capacity of a network – a fundamental component of the blockchain construct – and the user base. bitcoin cash is allegedly hosted on Alibaba servers.The fact that the Chinese online consumer trading giant Alibaba hosts a sizeable percentage of the BCH nodes points to mining activity that is centralized in China.
Although a startup that has lived up to its promise of addressing scalability and other user issues, Lightning Network still faces teething problems going forward. Peter Todd, the Bitcoin Core developer, is on record as saying that the network could be vulnerable to attempted DoS attacks, as well as other issues.
That said, the LN developer, Lightning Labs, clearly has a fundamentally valuable, applicable product as big players like Charlie Lee, the Litecoin founder, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey contributed to a $2.5 million investment in the network. Todd recently said that although LN is in its beta testing phase, its reality is still very much that of an alpha startup.
Who’s Got the Right Stuff?
As opposed to the launch of the Lightning Network, where the product was lauded as a solution that would address many frustrations around bitcoin and subsequently has, the emergence of the forked bitcoin Cash has had vehement opposition from the start. Observers point to the fork having deleted much of what made bitcoin so attractive and the current vision of BCH, which many feel is indicative of a profiteering me-too rather than a serious currency project.
Also, bitcoin cash faces other competitive challenges. The cumulative transaction volume for bitcoin Cash is sitting around 31.5 percent lower than that of SegWit – the Bitcoin network protocol that is addressing scalability and exorbitant transaction fee issues.