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Lightning's Next Era with Sam Wouters

Jan 22, 2024

Lightning's Next Era with Sam Wouters

Lightning's Next Era with Sam Wouters

Key Takeaways

In this episode of the Bitcoin Audible interview series Guy Swann dives deep into the intricacies of Bitcoin's Lightning Network and its potential impact on global payments. Sam Wouters, Head of Research at River, shares his insights on the growth, challenges, and future of the Lightning Network. Sam's in-depth analysis, based on his own reports and research, reveals a significant reduction in average fees for cross-border payments when traditional payment methods are optimally used. He also touches on the adoption hurdles of Bitcoin as a medium of exchange, regulatory challenges, and the potential role of AI in managing Lightning Network channels.

Best Quotes

  • "If everyone was fully informed today on what their options are for different cross-border payments... the average fee that people pay for cross border payments would drop from about 6.2 to 3.2% on average."
  • "Lightning is, in a lot of cases, it's a luxury. It's not as much of a necessity."
  • "I've never actually had a lightning payment fail to date...which has nothing to do with skill or knowledge or anything like that."
  • "Everyone looks at those standard metrics of the number of channels of the capacity, etc., and those have been relatively flat. So when you see that flatten out, you just automatically...think to yourself, well, that must mean that the activity has been relatively flat too, but it hasn't been the case."
  • "We're just doing far more with the same capacity, with the same number of channels."
  • "An estimated 39% of the global population over the age of 15 had made a payment to a digital merchant in 2021 globally."
The Current State and Future of Lightning Network and LSPs: An Overview
This article provides an in-depth look at the current state of the Lightning Network, its recent advancements, and the role of Lightning Service Providers (LSPs) in its ecosystem. We will also explore future developments and the continual evolution of the technology.


This episode of Bitcoin Audible brought to light the complexity and dynamic nature of the Lightning Network and its interface with Bitcoin and the global payment industry. The conversation with Sam reveals that while the Lightning Network has experienced growth, there are still significant challenges to overcome for widespread adoption. The episode underscores the importance of education in the space and the continued development of tools and infrastructure to support the network's evolution. The discussion also highlights the need for realistic expectations regarding Bitcoin's role as a medium of exchange and the potential influences of regulation and AI on the future of the Lightning Network.


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