A new node on Bitcoin’s layer-2 payments solution, Lightning Network, recently went live in Lagos, Nigeria. The node, launched by a group of bitcoiners called Africa Free Routing, is currently the only live setup in Nigeria, data from Bitcoin explorer service Mempool shows.
- The new node, dubbed NigeriaFreeRouting, improves the accessibility of payments via the Lightning Network for bitcoin users in Nigeria. Payments over the Bitcoin layer two protocol are typically more efficient when the nodes exist near both the payer and the payee.
- This is the second node the Africa Free Routing group has set up, the first located in Oregon, United States, according to Mempool.
What is the Lightning Network?
The Lightning Network is an example of what crypto-nerds call a “layer-2” network, which is used to settle transactions outside the main “layer-1” blockchain. The Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains are examples of layer-1s.
Layer-2 networks generally help users avoid network congestion on Layer-1s to conduct faster and cheaper transactions. The Lightning Network is used to send and receive bitcoin transactions faster and affordably.
- In addition, NigeriaFreeRouting now has three open channels — two connected to the other Africa Free Routing node and the third one to Bitnob’s node hosted in Ohio, U.S.
- Bitnob is the Nigerian crypto company that recently partnered with U.S. company Strike and European company CoinCorner to facilitate Bitcoin-powered remittances to Africa.
- Channels are a feature of the Lightning protocol that allows money to move from sender to receiver.
- According to the Lightning protocol website: “As nodes open new channels, they become better connected on the Lightning Network. Increased connectivity helps nodes route payments to and from more nodes with lower fees.”
- The node operator Megasley, told Cointelegraph:
“If bitcoin is to flourish, it has to become a better, easier, and faster medium of exchange than its incumbents. To accomplish this, we must establish a global network of nodes to support these payments.”
- On the importance of setting up a node locally, Megasley added:
“If a Nigerian bitcoiner and a Nigerian retailer are both connected to a node in Nigeria, it will give them the best lightning experience.”.