Growth of network scale creates the illusion of sustainability, Lightning Network is "irrational" and has privacy issues

This article comes from, the original author: Jamie Redman

Translator: Odaily Planet Daily Moni

Source: Planet Daily

For people in the cryptocurrency industry, the Lightning Network is no stranger. The protocol aims to solve the scalability problem of Bitcoin. The main idea is very simple. Outside for processing. On November 21, researchers from Hungary and the Institute of Computer Science and Control released a report on a rigorous inspection of the Lightning Network. According to the simulation results of the researchers, for most large routing nodes that currently hold the network together, In terms of it, Lightning Network is not economically reasonable.

Current Lightning Network routing is not economically feasible

For a long time, many Bitcoin supporters have always believed that the Lightning Network is an effective solution to the Bitcoin blockchain capacity problem. However, so far, the Lightning Network protocol has not fully fulfilled its promise, and the entire network seems to be plagued by various problems. such as:

  • In the last week of October, a user closed the Lightning Network channel while using an older invalid state, resulting in the loss of 4 BTC;
  • In June of this year, developers discovered a bug in the Lightning Network, which allowed some Bitcoins based on the Lightning Network to be spent, and these bitcoins did not get legal Bitcoin reserves.

In fact, although it has been severely criticized by the community for issues such as unfriendly user experience, centralization, and routing, Lightning Network was supported by many cryptocurrency enthusiasts at the beginning. But now, this new research seems to give Lightning Network a "head-on-a-shot", in addition to demonstrating in detail that it is economically unreasonable, and even revealing that Lightning Network has privacy issues.

In the paper, Ferenc Beres, Istvan Seres and Andras Benczur, three researchers at the Hungarian Computer Science and Control Institute and Eötvös Loránd and Szechenyi University, stated in their paper that they used publicly available data (such as capacity And network structure) simulator for testing, and at the same time based on the information from the Lightning Network node owner to conduct simulated verification transactions. According to the research results of transaction cost data, Lightning Network infrastructure is economically irrational.

The researchers stated in the paper:

"Whether it is traffic or transaction costs, Lightning Network must increase by several orders of magnitude to ensure that payment routing is economically feasible. We assume that the price competition between routes is very fierce, and we make the most of the most likely cost increases. Bad estimates. We have also estimated how the current channel structure and pricing strategy are responding to potential traffic growth, while giving some examples of how the nodes will operate with economically viable revenue. "

Above: For some Lightning Network routing entities, the simulated daily revenue of each transaction is a positive function of the transaction value α.

Lightning network operations have privacy flaws

In addition to the economic irrationality, researchers in Ferenc Beres, Istvan Seres and Andras Benczur highlighted in their 21-page paper that there is a privacy risk in using Lightning Network systems. They wrote in the paper:

"Our second set of analysis results found that Lightning Network has privacy issues-according to strong statistics, even if the transaction is routed through the onion, the source of payment and the destination of the payment can be inferred because of the current Lightning Network Is still small, so many transaction paths are provided by an intermediary route. "

The research paper added that:

"Based on a simulated Lightning Network transaction experiment, we quantitatively described the current Lightning Network operation's privacy flaw. However, we proposed a solution that attempts to inject additional hops into the routing path. Although it adds a little extra transaction cost, privacy has been enhanced. "

It is reported that Ferenc Beres, Istvan Seres and Andras Benczur have released the simulator code for this research on the open source code platform GitHub so that others can view their research process.

The figure above shows the reasonable rejection of Lightning Network. Lightning network user Alice can "reasonably" deny that he is a "payment source". Similarly, transaction routing does not confirm whether the lightning network user Bob is a true payment receiver or one of his "neighbors".

Based on the findings of three researchers using the Lightning Network Simulator, they provided two important conclusions:

  • First, and most importantly, when most routing nodes based on the Lightning Network participate in the network, there is an "irrational" economically and current cost structure. However, because the overall traffic on the Lightning Network has been increasing, it has created a "fake image" of the sustainable development of the Lightning Network. The paper emphasizes:

"The conclusion of the study may be different from most people's views. According to the current level of use of Lightning Network, if network routing starts to take reasonable action, it will undoubtedly lead to a substantial increase in payment fees. This situation is likely to damage the core value of Lightning Network. The claim is that transaction costs are so low that they can be ignored. "

  • Secondly, the current topological properties of the lightning network can make a considerable part of payment transactions lose anonymity.

Although Lightning Network has been claiming to solve Bitcoin transaction congestion and rising fees, this proposed solution has been controversial. Recently, Lightning Network has called for higher network transaction costs. This proposal has also been supported by some community members. In addition, for those who want to promote the widespread application of Lightning Network, users have been the key to network growth.

Of course, many people are skeptical of Lightning Network. They mainly think that the current scale of the network is weak. The release of this latest report may also pour cold water on the entire Lightning Network community. Maybe those strong supporters Will lower the expectations of Lightning Network a little bit.

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