today is Jan 27, 2022

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WARNING: If you try to use the Lightning Network (LN) you are at HIGH RISK of losing funds and it is not recommended or safe to do at this time or for the foreseeable future.

Below is a list which shows that Lightning Network has been drowning in technical issues, bugs, flaws, critiques, and exploits. It's over-promised tech that doesn't deliver on decentralization and a long ways from being functional and safe for users.

2017

June 26, 2017: Mathematical Proof That the Lightning Network Cannot Be a Decentralized Bitcoin Scaling Solution https://medium.com/@jonaldfyookball/mathematical-proof-that-the-lightning-network-cannot-be-a-decentralized-bitcoin-scaling-solution-1b8147650800

December 15, 2017: How The Banks Bought Bitcoin (The truth about the lightning network) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYHFrf5ci_g

2018

January 20, 2018: Lightning Network May Not Solve Bitcoin’s Scaling ‘Trilemma’ https://www.coindesk.com/lightning-network-may-not-solve-bitcoins-scaling-trilemma

February 18, 2018: Rick Falkvinge reacts to the Lightning Network https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFZOrtlQXWc

February 21, 2018: Bitcoin Lightning Fraud? Laolu Is Building a ‘Watchtower’ to Fight It https://www.coindesk.com/laolu-building-watchtower-fight-bitcoin-lightning-fraud

March 21, 2018: Lightning Network DDoS Sends 20% of Nodes Down https://www.trustnodes.com/2018/03/21/lightning-network-ddos-sends-20-nodes

May 29, 2018: Why The Lightning Network Does not Scale https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGrUOLsC9cw

April 11, 2018: How Bitcoin Lightning Channels Work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOZaLbUUZUs

June 21, 2018: The 3 biggest LN flaws plus further critiques https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-biggest-flaw-of-the-Bitcoin-Lightning-network/answer/Marius-Kramer

June 25, 2018: Study finds that the probability of routing $200 on LN between any two nodes is 1% https://diar.co/volume-2-issue-25/

October 10, 2018: Watchtowers (third party services) are introduced as a way to monitor your funds when you can't be online 24/7 so they aren't stolen https://medium.com/@akumaigorodski/watchtower-support-is-coming-to-bitcoin-lightning-wallet-8f969ac206b2

2019

January 17, 2019: 18 Months Away? Latest Lightning Network Study Calls System a 'Small Central Clique' https://news.bitcoin.com/18-months-away-latest-lightning-network-study-calls-system-a-small-central-clique/

February 20, 2019: The current state of Bitcoin companies dealing with Lightning Network zap Highlights: Hard to implement, takes a ton of man hours, with no return on investment. LN adds zero utility. The only reason some companies support it is for marketing reasons.

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/lightningnetwork/comments/asuoyy/the_current_state_of_bitcoin_companies_dealing/
  • https://twitter.com/DavidShares/status/1095469511283785733

February 20, 2019: Current requirements to run BTC/LN: 2 hard drives + zfs mirrors, need to run a BTC full node, LN full node + satellite, Watchtower and use a VPN service. And BTC fees are expensive, slow, unreliable.

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/aspkj2/current_requirements_to_run_btcln_2_hard_drives/
  • https://twitter.com/DavidShares/status/1098239529050349568

February 22, 2019: Listen to this great talk on the problems and complexities of using HTLC's on the Lightning Network zap , and possible alternatives.

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/atmlnp/listen_to_this_great_talk_on_the_problems_and/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUAyW4pdooA

February 23, 2019: 5 Things I Learned Getting Rekt on Lightning Network

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/atx8jq/psa_important_video_to_watch_if_you_use_lightning/
  • https://medium.com/@mtidwell021/5-things-i-learned-un-rekting-myself-on-lightning-network-29016f175b61
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fMv8MpzLgQ

February 25, 2019: Lightning Network bank-wallet is "kind of centralized but it has to be this way if you want mass-adoption"

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/aup68s/lightning_network_bankwallet_is_kind_of/
  • https://twitter.com/DavidShares/status/1100113132830232578

February 28, 2019: Decentralized path routing is still an unsolved problem for Lightning Network (currently "source routing" works at this scale)

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/avt6ow/do_people_agree_with_andreas_antonopoulos_that/
  • https://archive.is/PKrIi

February 28, 2019: "Out of the 1,500 orders submitted on the first day using Lightning Network, only around 10 percent were successful" https://breakermag.com/i-ordered-lightning-pizza-and-lived-to-tell-the-tale/

March 1, 2019: Lightning Network has become a complete train wreck. Oh by the way, it's no longer 18 months but YEARS until it's ready for mass-consumption.

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/aw71q8/lightning_network_has_become_a_complete_train/
  • https://twitter.com/DavidShares/status/1101524232033439744

March 4, 2019: Lightning users must be online to make a payment, funds must be locked to use, is a honey pot, completion rate deminishes with high value payments, and more https://medium.com/starkware/when-lightning-starks-a90819be37ba

March 17, 2019: TIL that Lightning Network conceptual design and focus to layer 2 scaling for BTC was introduced in February 2013, over 6 years ago (LN whitepaper released February 2015, 4 years ago)

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/b201kd/til_that_lightning_network_conceptual_design_and/
  • https://archive.is/wgmEF

March 21, 2019: Understanding the cost of trapped liquidity in the Lightning Network https://medium.com/@peter_r/understanding-the-cost-of-trapped-liquidity-in-the-lightning-network-part-1-7179a24d5791

March 22, 2019: Lightning Fails to Strike (Again) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzaEd2RQuRw

March 28, 2019: Visualizing HTLCs and the Lightning Network’s Dirty Little Secret https://medium.com/@peter_r/visualizing-htlcs-and-the-lightning-networks-dirty-little-secret-cb9b5773a0

March 29, 2019: Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers From Trust Issues Exacerbated by Rising Fees https://news.bitcoin.com/analysis-shows-lightning-network-suffers-form-trust-issues-exacerbated-by-rising-fees/

April 24, 2019: Forget 18 months: it’s now 30-50 years until Lightning Network is ready

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/bh1gzw/forget_18_months_its_now_3050_years_until/
  • https://archive.is/CCQXn

May 29, 2019: "PSA: The Lightning Network is being heavily data mined right now. Opening channels allows anyone to cluster your wallet and associate your keys with your IP address."

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/budmfh/on_twitter_psa_the_lightning_network_is_being/
  • https://archive.is/9zaKc

August 30, 2019: Lightning Network security alert: Security issues have been found in various lightning projects which could cause loss of funds! https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/lightning-dev/2019-August/002130.html

September 10, 2019: Lightning Network dev: "We've confirmed instances of the CVE being exploited in the wild. If you’re not on the following versions of either of these implementations then you need to upgrade now to avoid risk of funds loss" https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/lightning-dev/2019-September/002148.html

September 27, 2019: Lightning Network Security Vulnerability Full Disclosure: CVE-2019-12998 / CVE-2019-12999 / CVE-2019-13000 https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/lightning-dev/2019-September/002174.html

September 28, 2019: Andreas Brekken: "I've been asked quite a bit why I took down the largest Lightning Network node, LN.shitcoin.com. Constant anxiety was the deciding factor. When a channel is created, the receiver of the channel was not required to verify the amount of the funding transaction"

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/dae1g0/andreas_brekken_ive_been_asked_quite_a_bit_why_i/
  • https://archive.is/wip/yTCgt

October 21, 2019: Researchers Uncover Bitcoin ‘Attack’ That Could Slow or Stop Lightning Payments https://www.coindesk.com/researchers-uncover-bitcoin-attack-that-could-slow-or-stop-lightning-payments

October 23, 2019: 4 BTC stolen using Lightning Network

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/dlvokv/how_i_lost_4_btc_on_lightning_network/
  • https://archive.is/B1lrI

2020

January 1, 2020: The Final Word on the Lightning Network https://read.cash/@jonald_fyookball/the-final-word-on-the-lightning-network-de7e259c

January 7, 2020: New paper on Lightning Network simulates lower higher txn rates and summarize the rates of failed txns in Fig 22….at 7,000 transactions per day one-third of them fail

  • https://blog.dshr.org/2020/01/bitcoins-lightning-network.html
  • https://arxiv.org/pdf/1911.09432.pdf

January 13, 2020: LN users are leaking their blockchain data by using centralized Lightning Network node operators and wallets. 90K LN non-cooperative channel closures were identified https://blog.bitmex.com/lightning-network-part-6-over-60000-non-cooperative-channel-closures/

February 13, 2020: 8 Criticisms of Lightning Network https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/f36wck/lightning/fhh2mav/

February 18, 2020: Lightning Network is Vulnerable to Congestion Attacks https://medium.com/blockchains-huji/congestion-attacks-in-payment-channel-networks-b7ac37208389

February 20, 2020: Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Is Growing ‘Increasingly Centralized,’ Researchers Find https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoins-lightning-network-is-growing-increasingly-centralized-researchers-find

August 27, 2020: Flood Loot: A Systemic Attack On The Lightning Network https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.08513.pdf

September 2020: LN channels cannot hold more than 483 htlcs at a time, regardless of the channel capacity. Sending 483 micro-payments to yourself and holding on to the htlcs is enough to incapacitate a channel for up to two weeks https://archive.is/ldWRd

October 8, 2020: Lightning Vulnerability Discovered; LND Node Operators Urged to Upgrade ASAP https://www.coindesk.com/lightning-vulnerability-ind-node-operators-upgrade-asap

October 21, 2020: Two Lightning Network CVE's were made public:

  • A malicious peer could force an lnd node to accept a high-S ECDSA signature when updating new off-chain states. https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/lightning-dev/2020-October/002858.html
  • LND node could be coerced into revealing an invoice preimage for a forwarded HTLC with a colliding payment hash. https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/lightning-dev/2020-October/002857.html

October 29, 2020: PSA: High onchain BTC fees have impact for you Lightning Channels: Pre negotiated fees might not be sufficient for your commitment tx to be included in case of force close https://archive.is/ECr4p

2021

February 18, 2021: The Lightning Network (LN) is semi-custodial banking https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/lml76q/the_lightning_network_ln_is_semicustodial_banking/gnwa42b/

February 28, 2021: Congestion Attacks in Payment Channel Networks

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lzxdTMgdRw
  • https://fc21.ifca.ai/papers/70.pdf

March 15, 2021: A recap of events over the last 6 years of Lightning Network https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1366411780633862147.html

March 26, 2021: Real-life example of a LN user trying to use Lightning but encounters various problems and errors:

  • https://old.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/mdtl92/user_defends_the_lightning_network_never_found/
  • https://colintalkscrypto.com/files/user_fails_to_use_lightningnetwork.png

March 28, 2021: Real-life example of a LN user trying to use various Lightning mobile wallets and none of them worked (multiple errors for each) https://archive.is/klS2X

April 13, 2021: Video discussion with LN engineer about pros and cons of LN. Tidbits include that LN transactions always require onchain transactions to be finalized/settled (problematic due to high fees), initial payment channels still an issue for new users, using LN service providers is a trust issue, not decentralized, using zero-conf to create channels is highly risky, must be online to use LN, constant backups needed so you don't lose funds, LN needs more forks to work (such as Taproot and El-Too) https://odysee.com/@DigitalCashNetwork:c/Lightning-Network:c

April 21, 2021: Popular Lightning wallet Phoenix had to shut down on-the-fly channel creations and other features due to high BTC transaction fees, which is another example of how poorly LN operates with a high fee base layer. https://archive.ph/RRzvU#high-mempool-size-impacts

September 20, 2021: Custodial Lightning Network Service Attack Discovered — Hacker Strikes 6 LN Custodians

  • https://news.bitcoin.com/custodial-lightning-network-service-attack-discovered-by-ln-newbie-hacker-strikes-6-ln-custodians/
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20210918093307/https://old.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/pqjcvo/stealing_sats_from_the_lightning_network/

September 26, 2021: Why the Bitcoin Lightning Network is Satoshi Nakamoto’s Worst Nightmare https://cryptowhale.medium.com/why-the-bitcoin-lightning-network-is-satoshi-nakamotos-worst-nightmare-8402be4a4e73

Contributing

If you want to contribute to this list, please see CONTRIBUTING.md.