As Bitcoin teeters on the brink of $15,000, and approaches new 2020 highs, there is fresh optimism that a large bull run is in the making. Bitcoin has managed to stay above $10,000 but it has not gone past $15,000 since its run-up to the all time high in 2017.
Things could well be changing with some commentators noting that there is likely very little resistance in the market from $14,000 to $20,000. And, with this apparent bull run getting ready, there is an expectation that the price increase would cause an influx of users.
The cryptocurrency space has always been a volatile one, in price and users, and with a price spike the user increase is expected to be drastic — but these drastic spikes can cause problems with scaling, and fees.
To this end, there is evidence that the routing node operators on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network are busily bracing for the curious new users that usually come with such a bull run. The Lightning Network is also one way in which users will be able to avoid congestion and fees.
Time for lightning to shine
The Lightning Network has been purported to be a viable way to make the coin more usable as a spendable digital currency. The proof-of-work algorithm of Bitcoin means its fees and transaction speeds are variable, especially in times of congestion.
Bitcoin fees are now higher than they’ve been in more than two years, reaching an average of $13 per transaction. With Lightning, users can avoid these fees.
“Higher bitcoin prices go hand in hand with higher transaction fees for on-chain payments,” Tudor Iova, Lightning routing node operator and founder of BTCfactura, told CoinDesk. He also noted he has seen more users tapping Lightning as fees have risen.
In contrast, Lightning payments usually cost less than a cent, making the payment method more and more attractive as fees rise.
The Lightning Network is still very much in the experimental phase and has its issues and concerns in terms of going to mass market. This is one reason why it has not been fully adapted, and it is something those who are at its core are well aware of.
Lightning routers are busy learning and researching the best ways to tackle these issues, so that if a bunch of new users flock to the network, payments will remain smooth.
“What we are doing, and suggesting our users do, too, is to opening channels on weekends, when the fees peak off. Later, during the week, you can use Lightning payments and avoid horrendous [fees]. Else you can end up paying a fee that is higher than the price of the goods purchased,” Iova added.
“We are preparing ourselves for a bull run by opening new channels and improving our Lightning node connectivity to other nodes, in order to make it possible for users to use our node Transylvania for payments and routing, when necessary,”