There are many reasons to run a Bitcoin Lightning Network node over Tor. Judging by the network statistics, more and more users begin to experiment with this option. Over half of all LN nodes can now be accessed over this network, further highlighting the demand for privacy.
Tor and the Lightning Network
Over the past few months, an interesting shift has taken place. More specifically, more and more users are interested in running Bitcoin nodes over Tor. Not just in terms of regular network nodes, but particularly the Lightning Network. This latter aspect is very interesting, for a number of reasons.
First of all, it shows that Tor provides a valuable layer of privacy. Being able to hide a node’s real IP address is crucial in this modern age. Criminals and culprits will attack public network nodes for no apparent reason. Avoiding such incidents as a Lightning Network node owner is always an advisable course of action.
Second, there is a strong increase in LN nodes running on Tor. A few weeks ago, over 45% of the nodes provided this type of connectivity. Today, that number has risen to 50.4%. A very strong increase. Such a level of growth is intriguing, especially when considering no known attack against Lightning Network nodes has been attempted in recent weeks.
Using Tor serves another purpose for Bitcoin as a network. Increasing overall defenses and security is always a good thing. Onion-based nodes provide the exact same functionality as a regular node, thus there is no reason not to explore additional benefits. It is likely the number of Tor-based Lightning Network nodes will keep rising for a while.
Current Lightning Network Health
The Tor side of the equation only tells part of the story. Bitcoin’s LN still has a very long way to go before it reaches major traction. More specifically, it is not as widely used as it can or should be at this stage. With 13.812 nodes, the Lightning Network continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Looking at the overall active channel nodes, there is also minor growth to be noted in this regard.
What is equally interesting is the continuous growth of LN network capacity. Following a recent 5% gain, there is now over 1,070 BTC in capacity to fuel payments. This represents over $11 million in value. A fraction of Bitcoin’s total market cap, but the figures are improving slowly. Pushing the boundaries is necessary to make a meaningful impact over the coming years.