Bitcoin crypto- Instead of concentrating on building the vertical second layer on top of the bitcoin network, the industry has been obsessed with developing competing base layers on a horizontal plane in the shape of new blockchains, often at great expense and with relatively little to show for it.
That, at any rate, is the contention of Ryan Radloff, the chief executive and co-founder of CoinShares.
And there is one technology in particular that is witnessing accelerated adoption, achieved not by inventing a “better” blockchain but simply by building on top of what already exists: it’s the Lightning Network.
Nodes matter and bitcoin is still on top by a mile
As of 10 February, the node counts of leading blockchains had bitcoin in first place with 10,336, Ethereum in second place on 7,574 and coming up fast, Lightning is in third place with a tally of 6,088.
Some way behind, in fourth, fifth and sixth place are Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ripple on 1,869, 1,589 and 1,047, respectively.
At the time of writing the Lightning node count has risen to 6,293, seeing a 14.6% increase in the past 30 days, according to Lightning data site 1ML. Network capacity has jumped 30% in that same period to $2,506,102 (691.01 BTC) and the number of channels stands at 26,990.
Going vertical with Bitcoin as new dapps launch but inactivity grows
OK, we can have an argument about bitcoin’s listening (full nodes) and non-listening nodes (SPV) that don’t have their ports open and similar issues to take account of on the other networks, but you get the idea. Bitcoin is by far the most decentralised network, although there is the consideration of the “political” control of those nodes, given the pockets of mining control concentration that ASICs brought to the world. Perhaps we should say bitcoin is the densest (and most secure) network.
Radloff argues that for the past three years the industry has been fixated on horizontal development by creating new “base layers” with a “’crypto Keynesian’ type spending model – raising a ton of capital & spending it on projects to promote network growth, hoping the spending would stimulate coin velocity & user growth… Now data is showing that isn’t working.”
Although not mentioned by Radloff, it might be noted here that a recent research on Ethereum by LongHash found that 10% of the dapps “running” on its blockchain were inactive.