Lightning powers Bitcoin in El Salvador and beyond

Bitcoin capacity on the Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s Layer 2 scaling solution, hits new all-time highs every week. The network now houses over 2,400 BTC in more than 73,000 channels. Since Bitcoin officially became legal tender in El Salvador on September 7th, almost 2,000 new channels have been opened in Lightning and 100 additional Bitcoins have been stored in them.

A year-long window into the health of the Lightning Network from Bitmex Research.

As the network advances in functionality and ease of use, and as more people become educated about the positive benefits of adopting the technology, it gains importance in the Bitcoin ecosystem. As a result, it has more BTC in it and it presents itself as one of the definitive answers to the base layer scaling problem.

Bitcoin and Lightning together create a positive gain loop. Bitcoin education will naturally lead people to Lightning, which in turn increases the frequency of bitcoin usage as Layer-2 focuses on small payments. The easier it is to pay cheaply and quickly with Bitcoin via Lightning, the more people will use Bitcoin and make it an established medium of exchange.

El Salvador has played an important role in the awareness and acceptance of Bitcoin and Lightning, also beyond its borders. Aside from putting both technologies in the spotlight, the Central American nation has shown how using BTC to pay for a McDonald’s breakfast is not only possible, but also inexpensive and quick, and provides a proof-of-concept that other countries can use.

The open infrastructure around Bitcoin and Lightning enables more efficient innovations compared to the closed infrastructure that surrounds the traditional banking system. In addition, it enables citizens to choose the app, technology, and money they want to use for each use case in their daily life. Whether you want to save and spend dollars in BTC or get fully involved with a Bitcoin standard, you can do what you want in El Salvador thanks to Bitcoin and Lightning.

The Lightning Network, which was proposed in 2015 and launched as a beta in 2018, has come a long way in development and adoption. Continuous commitment by developers ensures continued growth in acceptance and increased technical robustness, driven by improved user-friendliness. Today, to access Bitcoin through Lightning, the average person only needs their mobile phone to efficiently achieve a good level of independence from traditional finances and be able to effortlessly transact value while paying almost no fees for it. It certainly doesn’t come without compromise, but both Bitcoin and Lightning allow any user to climb the ladder of sovereignty and privacy at will.

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