On April 23, a researcher and writer in the field of decentralized technology and economies, Noam Levenson shed some light on the actual nature of the Lightning Network (LN) on the Subreddit called r/BTC. Here, a note-worthy observation by the researcher was the trouble that the high-cost onchain BTC transactions could attract the users.
He first stated the challenges forming in regards to the Lightning Network, such as difficulty in maintaining a network map. According to Levenson, a topology is required to route transactions. Here, he added:
“Problems with this are both the eventual enormous size of the topology and the number of messages that would need to be sent in order to determine the topology.”
The techie also introduced solutions to the above conundrum, mentioning that the network could either be utilized for microtransactions or the users would have to rely on centralized hubs to maintain the network.
In case of relying on centralized hubs, he raised the issue of high cost on onchain transactions for Bitcoin, which might give the hubs more power over individuals. He also mentioned:
“This is especially relevant to any transactions that fall under the “dust” level of BTC (i.e. the cost of onchain transactions). If a transaction falls under this metric, time lock hashes cannot be used and the transaction ceases to be trustless.”
As a result, users could lose a lot of money on onchain transactions in the form of dust. Furthermore, they would not be able to switch to another hub if the one being used turns out to be untrustworthy. In addition to this, Levenson propagated that this is particularly because executing an onchain transaction to open a new channel with a different hub could be very expensive.
However, his main intent was not to criticize the Lightning Network but to fetch several distinct opinions of experts on the subject. While he presented many other concerns for the technology, he also marked his purpose at the beginning of the post, saying:
“Currently, I’ve read everything I could on the LN, including criticisms and responses to those criticisms and so on. Before I publish my article, I want to post my conclusions here for anyone to present any counter-arguments. Please do so.”
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