Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong hints at Lightning integration

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has hinted that the cryptocurrency exchange may integrate Lightning, a layer 2 scaling solution for Bitcoin. In a tweet, Armstrong responded to criticism for not integrating the Lightning network by saying, “Lightning is great and something we’ll integrate.” However, he did not provide any further details on what the integration would involve or when it could be expected.

The Lightning network enables faster and cheaper BTC transactions than the Bitcoin base network, but Coinbase, along with other exchanges such as Binance and FTX, has been criticized for not integrating the technology. If Armstrong follows through on his statement, Coinbase would join Bitfinex, Kraken, and OKX as the largest trading platforms to integrate Lightning.

David Coen, a Lightning enthusiast, had previously suggested that many trading platforms may be reluctant to integrate Lightning because it goes against their business plan of integrating as many altcoins as possible. However, Coinbase has lately been more active in the Ethereum ecosystem, launching “Base” in February 2021, an Ethereum layer 2 application-focused network powered by fellow layer 2 Optimism.

In addition to the potential Lightning integration, Armstrong recently offered a $100 prize for the “best” examples of how people are using crypto in Africa. However, the winner reported that he has not received the payment, prompting a Bitcoiner to suggest that Armstrong “needs a lesson on Lightning.”

It is interesting to note that Armstrong wrote an article in January 2016 expressing support for Bitcoin scaling solutions, saying, “We also did it to show our support for scaling Bitcoin, and encourage things to move forward, since we’d like to see a solution sooner rather than later.” Lightning was launched about two years later in March 2018, with last month marking the fifth anniversary of the network.

If Coinbase were to integrate Lightning, it would be a significant step towards making Bitcoin more accessible and practical for everyday transactions. With the rising popularity of altcoins and increasing demand for fast, low-cost transactions, integrating scaling solutions like Lightning is becoming increasingly important for cryptocurrency exchanges. However, it remains to be seen when and how Coinbase will integrate Lightning, and whether other major exchanges will follow suit.


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BlueWallet is Sunsetting Its Lightning Node Connection to Lndhub

According to an official announcement, BlueWallet will be disconnecting its lightning node connection to Lndhub in the near future. BlueWallet is going to stop its custodial lightning operations. This means that customers of BlueWallet who are also members of the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network will need to connect to nodes in order to continue making use of BlueWallet’s lighting services.

“The most essential thing is that people don’t panic, and suddenly noobs take out their on-chain money or incorrect lightning balances,” said one person. “This is the most crucial thing.”

Bitcoin serves as the foundation for the Lightning Network, which is a layer-2 payment system. Small sums of bitcoin, also known as satoshis or sats, may be transferred between users with the use of the Lightning Network. This is often done via a lightning wallet.

Blue Wallet is a well-known Lightning Network wallet that has a liquidity pool of more than 42 BTC (one million dollars). According to the statistics provided by Amboss, the network’s biggest channel has a capacity of 4 BTC, which is equivalent to $95,000. BlueWallet is a well-known lightning wallet that comes highly recommended by some of the most prominent Bitcoin users.

Calle said, “It is essential to understand that lndhub is a protocol that facilitates the linking of wallets to accounts. BlueWallet is the wallet that supports LndHub in this instance; however, other wallets, like as Alby and Zeus, also support LndHub.

It is just the account that is being closed, not LndHub or Bluewallet in and of itself. This particular account is hosted by the BlueWallet team, and they have expressed that they no longer want to be responsible for it.

Although users will still be able to withdraw their sats, the LndHub node will no longer let users to create new lightning wallets or refill current ones. BlueWallet has issued a public statement advising customers who have satellite wallets linked to BlueWallet’s lightning node to transfer such wallets as soon as possible.

Because customers of BlueWallet will no longer have access to the service after April 30th, it is imperative that they transfer their sats to another service or wallet of their choosing before the service is discontinued. However, Bitcoin wallets that are used regularly will not be impacted by this change.

According to the website, BlueWallet will “only support self-custody solutions,” which is a crucial fact to keep in mind despite the fact that some people may regard the move as an impediment to the widespread adoption of the Lightning Network. The modification intends to encourage decentralized solutions and self-custody in its recipients.


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Bitcoin Lightning Network growth capacity plateaus at 3,400 BTC

Following an exponential climb in capacity over 2022, the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network made a lackluster start to the new year. According to a report by Arcane Research, growth in the Lightning Network capacity, or the number of BTC locked up in channels, has stuttered. 

The Lightning Network surged from 1,000 to 3,000 BTC in just 8 months in 2021, striking the 3,000 BTC mark in mid-October.

While the network continues to strike all-time highs, growth grinds down. The total BTC locked in the network is peaking just shy of the 3,500 BTC mark, sparking debate and discussion on social media.

As a quick refresher, the Lightning Network is one answer to the scalability issue that plagued the Bitcoin protocol. Lightning allows instant and super low-cost off-chain transactions; however, it requires Bitcoin to be locked up in payment channels distributed across lightning nodes. 

Lightning Network activity soared in 2021, primarily thanks to El Salvador onboarding a whole country and Twitter integrating Bitcoin Lightning tipping. In an October report, Arcane Research predicted that there would be 700 million Lightning Network users by 2030.

So why has growth slowed in 2022? Bitcoin Lightning Network+ Twitter account stated that platforms such as Umbrel (an easy to set up node and lightning node service), sent initial growth to the moon. Naturally, due to S curve growth, it would have to plateau.

Danny Scott, CEO and Co-Founder at CoinCorner, the UK’s leading lightning exchange, told Cointelegraph:

“I don’t think we’re seeing growth of the Lightning Network plateauing at all. We saw a major growth spike due to last year’s news and growth would now appear to be more organic.”

S-curve adoption plateaus to one side, he notes that “December is a holiday period for many around the world and often when the Bitcoin industry slows down.”

Rene Pickhardt, co-author of the “Mastering the Lightning Network” book, explained that the slowdown in growth could actually be a good thing for Bitcoin. He Tweeted:

“Given the fact that node count can only grow with channels and that the channel growth is limited by storage constraints in Bitcoin, we might only have a very short period of time with exponential growth. After that, we will be at best linear.”

Looking forward, lightning may strike twice for the second layer Bitcoin solution. A wealth of updates and news may spark further growth, such as the American mobile payment service Cash App which rolled out Lightning Network integration to its circa 30 million users.

Indeed, better UX and easy lightning integration for existing apps and exchanges might be the shock that the network needs. Danny sheds light on the situation:

“Once we introduced “Lightning Addresses” (eg. to make it easier for our customers to receive Lightning payments we have seen an incredible uptick in usage.”

The Arcane Research paper agrees with CoinCorner that the Lightning Network could be entering a new growth phase; the best could be yet to come.