Lightning Network,
“ the silver age ” of Bitcoin ?

A system (…) which would allow direct online payments from one party to another without going through a financial institution ” : these are the first words published by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, on 31 October 2008, in the white paper announcing the creation of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin (the digital currency) may be transferred securely using cryptography, without having recourse to an intermediary and independently from the traditional financial system; the issuer and the receiver just need to hold a bitcoin wallet with a public key which allows them to be identified.

In redefining the interaction between payments and data, their storage and their sending, Bitcoin (the concept or network) has opened up new possibilities and has made instant transfers easy, even across national borders, in a way which was once deemed impossible.

Launched in 2009, its number of users continues to grow, going from just over 3 million in 2015 to more than 80 million in the first quarter of 2022. Some economists and analysts predict that this exponential adoption curve should reach the 100 million milestone in 2023 and almost one billion by
the end of 2029.

In reality, it must be noted that in spite of this enormous take-up and a capitalisation of close to 600 billion dollars, bitcoin is struggling to impose itself as a foreign exchange currency; it has instead emerged as a new speculative asset, increasingly correlated to the fluctuations of the NASDAQ index, or as a safe haven for some. We are far from the concept of new “payment system” extolled at the start of its creation, and so as to better understand the limits currently faced by Bitcoin, we need to call to mind some of its operating principles.

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