The growth of the Lightning Network has been remarkable. But there’s a catch. | Mapping out Sybil Resistance Mechanisms | How The Block works
|Jan 15, 2019|
“The last ICO craze brought us deeply funded “unicorns” that fell over as soon as they stood up. The crypto bear market injected a panic not seen since the dot-com boom. The major figures in the industry are being exposed as either patient pragmatists or charlatans – there is no middle ground. And money is moving through the space at a frenetic pace and the bag holders are dumping. The rats, as they say, have started leaving the sinking ship. But we believe all of us can right that ship.” John Biggs, Editor-in-Chief of The Block
The Big Block
Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s second layer payment protocol, has seen significant growth last year. The first Lightning implementation developed by Lightning Labs launched in beta in March 2018. The other two (main) implementations developed by ACINQ and Blockstream followed in late March and late June respectively.
In a little under a year since being live on mainnet, there are now nearly 2,800 nodes with active channels and about 20,000 total channels. The steeper node growth in the last three months could potentially be connected to the release of the Casa Lightning Node, which made running a node significantly easier for a regular non-technical user.
It’s also worth pointing out that the average number of channels per node has been steadily increasing throughout the last year. There are now nearly 8 channels per each node.
The network’s capacity grew to 575.5 BTC (~$2 million). Interestingly, unlike the number of nodes and channels, the capacity isn’t growing linearly. The largest increase was recorded in early November when the LN’s capacity suddenly increased by 300% in just two weeks.
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Mapping out Sybil Resistance Mechanisms
One of the biggest risks for decentralized networks is Sybil attacks. In a Sybil attack, an attacker creates a large number of accounts to trick a network into thinking that several individual accounts are participating in the network, when in fact they are all controlled by the attacker. The attacker then leverages these accounts to exert influence on the network in variety of ways: manipulating the reputation system of an e-commerce shop, obtaining a disproportionate share of a network’s resources, etc. — More
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