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Over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of hyped up discussion about the Lightning Network (LN) from those who believe it will help scale the bitcoin core (BTC) protocol. The Lightning Network topic has now moved from BTC testnet experimentation to trialing LN over the currency’s mainnet using real BTC. LN development and mainnet testing is growing and people are excited about this off-chain scaling feature. However some people are still skeptical as there’s been a few reported bugs, warnings from developers, and discussion of the cost required to create and close the 781 channels currently being used on the network.

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781 Channels and 3.6 BTC

The Lightning Network (LN) is a proposed scaling solution that many hope will help cure the bitcoin core protocol’s transaction congestion and rising fees. The idea is to enable off-chain transactions and micropayments through a peer-to-peer network of bidirectional payment channels. Over the past six months there’s been a lot of LN testing using test-BTC, but lately there’s been a big transition to mainnet experimentation and actual payments using real BTC. Currently, there are 781 mainnet LN channels and 285 nodes all with different names. According to current data, there is 3.635 BTC ($41,689 USD) being used within the network of Lightning channels.

Lightning and Mainnet: A Look at the Protocol's Hype, Trials, and Error
There are currently 781 Lightning Network channels on bitcoin core’s mainnet with 3.6 BTC.

The Debated On-chain Costs to Open and Close Lightning Channels

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