Lightning Network “Increasingly Centralized… Removing Hubs Leads to Collapse” Says Study

lightning network topography feb 2020 1

A number of academics from European Universities, in addition to Christian Decker of Blockstream, have concluded the Bitcoin Lightning Network (BLN) has become very centralized to the point it collapses if some hub nodes are removed, opening it to split attacks. The study covers 14th January 2018 to 13th July 2019 when more than 8,000 users maintained 120,000 active channels that transacted 2,732.5 bitcoins, worth $28 million. “BLN is becoming an increasingly centralised network, more and more compatible with a core-periphery structure,” they say, adding: “Further inspection of the resilience of the BLN shows that removing hubs leads to the collapse of the network into many components, an evidence suggesting that this network may be a target for the so-called split attacks.” They do not describe these split attacks, but after much analysis of many aspects, they conclude: “LN’s structure seems to become increasingly similar to a core-periphery one, with…

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