18 Months Away? Latest Lightning Network Study Calls System a ‘Small Central Clique’

The Lightning Network has been touted as the solution to the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network’s scalability problem for years now. Over the last few months, the Lightning Network has shown growth but there are still significant concerns about centralization, routing issues, and creating a usable mainstream-friendly interface. The ongoing joke that the network is “18 months away” continues, and on Wednesday researchers published a topological analysis of the network which highlights how the project is “structurally weak against rational adversaries.”

Also Read: Embracing Utility in 2019: Unreliable Crypto Networks Will Lose to Hyperbitcoinization

‘A Small Central Clique and a Loosely Connected Periphery’

At the Breaking Bitcoin conference on Sept. 9, 2017, when an audience member asked how much longer the Lightning Network (LN) will be, the ultimate answer was still “18 months.” Ever since then that timeline has been an inside joke to both LN defectors and even proponents. A recent study stemming from members of Eötvös Loránd University explains that there are still significant issues with the LN protocol. In order to review the LN, researchers Seres Istvan Andras, Laszlo Gulyas, Daniel A. Nagy, and Peter Bur published a seven-page topological analysis of the network on Wednesday.

The researchers from Eötvös Loránd University believe topological studies are needed to better understand the Lightning Network.

A topological analysis uses applied mathematics and data from topological extraction, and many analysts believe many computational networks should be researched in this manner. Seres Istvan Andras shared the pre-print study to his followers on Twitter and explained the paper is a work in progress in which the researchers quantify the structural properties of the LN.

In a series of tweets, Istvan Andras explained how the research shows people’s prior intuitions toward the LN becoming centralized “were not rigorously proven,” but the team’s study shows that “the intuition is correct and it can have effects on LN.” The paper says the LN exhibits high clustering with short paths and this can be seen with entities like Lnbig.com. There was also the time that Andreas Brekken’s single node captured a large portion of the LN’s capacity. Section two of the topological study states:

LN’s local clustering coefficient distribution suggestively captures that LN is essentially comprised of a small central clique and a loosely connected periphery.

The majority of nodes have very few payment channels and a few hubs control a large portion of the network. One single entity operates a large portion of nodes and controls more than half of total LN capacity on Jan. 15, 2019.


The post 18 Months Away? Latest Lightning Network Study Calls System a ‘Small Central Clique’ appeared first on BlockBoard.

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