The Lightning Torch is back. The symbolic gesture of people passing increasing amounts of Bitcoin to each other over the Lightning Network—designed for making faster Bitcoin payments—has started again. And this time, it’s moving hands even faster.
“It was a spur of the moment decision to try and start it again after I saw people tweeting about the one year anniversary,” pseudonymous Twitter personality Hodlonaut, who started the Lightning Torch, told Decrypt. “I think this time it will move faster, and it is already proving that. There has been 95 torch bearers in three days, that's more than one pass per hour on average.”
“Also this time it has been exclusively 'normal' bitcoiners holding it, no celebs. So I guess this time it will be more of a grassroot thing,” Hodlonaut added.
The Lightning Torch is pretty simple. Hodlonaut sends out a Bitcoin transaction of 100,000 satoshis (the smallest amount of Bitcoin there is) equal to 0.001 Bitcoin, using LN. The recipient of this transaction then adds 10,000 satoshis and sends it on to the next player, and so on. After being passed by 95 torchbearers from 40 countries at the time of writing, the “pot” is currently equal to 1,070,000 satoshis (around 0.01 BTC or $92).
The problem is, the bigger the torch gets, the harder it is to pass around. The Lightning Network is still an experimental technology and it’s designed for small transactions. As the network expands, it will be able to handle bigger and bigger transactions.
So, the Lightning Torch is also a good example of the network’s development. If the torch becomes bigger than last year before failing, then it shows the network has grown.
Many famous personalities—in the crypto sphere and beyond—have passed the Lighting Torch in 2019, including Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos, co-founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital Anthony Pompliano and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
“By the time I received the torch last time around it had already passed through the hands of Jack Dorsey, Andreas Antonopolous, Jameson Lopp, Pomp, the Magical Crypto Friends, and was only one hop away from its final destination,” Mati Greenspan, crypto analyst and founder of Quantum Economics told Decrypt.
He added that this time around, the participants “seem to be a lot less patient and it's more about speed than stature. It's not about who holds it but how fast it moves.”
As Decrypt explained previously, this attitude is perfectly in tune with LN’s mission of solving Bitcoin’s scalability problems and significantly speeding up transactions. For a long time, researchers, developers and the community have been trying to come up with a way of allowing Bitcoin—and other cryptocurrencies—to accommodate more and faster transactions, and their best efforts yet are focused around the Lightning Network.
Speaking to Decrypt, Hodlonaut noted the initiative was received quite positively by the community last year and should also give LN more use and exposure. Judging by the speed the things are already progressing, 2020’s LNTrustChain could prove to be even more successful.
“No expectations really, it will be what it will be... I'm doing it because the last time was a very positive community event that gave LN more use and exposure. Hoping to see the same happen this time,” Hodlonaut said.
Decrypt also reported last December that 2019 has been a year of non-stop development for the Lightning Network. The protocol has definitely made strides towards mainstream adoption but it still has a long way to go.