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Is Ripple’s XRPL superior to Bitcoin’s Lightning Network?

3min Read

Despite having different functionalities, the Bitcoin Lightning Network and project under the XRP Ledger have been set by side. Who wins the battle in a conversation spearheaded by John Deaton?

Ripple's XRPL news in relation to Bitcoin

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  • A core developer of the Lightning Network left, leading to discussions about the L2’s sustainability.
  • When compared, the XRPL and Bitcoin Lightning Network have their ups and downs.

Bitcoin’s [BTC] Lightning Network has come under intense criticism lately. But is Ripple’s [XRP] Ledger (XRPL) network a higher-level scalable solution than the king coin’s L2? This is one debate that has sparked different opinions online, especially on X (formerly Twitter).

Realistic or not, here’s XRP’s market cap in BTC terms

But across the far and wide viewpoints, there has been one that caught the attention of the market. This school of thought came from John. E. Deaton, and it could be worth examining.

According to Deaton, who is a well-known supporter of the Ripple project, SpendTheBits, a digital payments platform powered by XRPL, was a better alternative to the Lightning Network.

Lightning challenges end in a core departure 

Deaton’s point did not just come out of the blue. He was actually responding to the revelation that one of Bitcoin’s Lightning developers had left the project.

The core developer Antoine Riard, in his full disclosure, mentioned that his decision to exit was because of the high-security issues experienced by the network and has gone unsolved. He noted that,

“I think this new class of replacement cycling attacks puts lightning in a very perilous position, where only a sustainable fix can happen at the base layer, e.g adding a memory-intensive history of all-seen transactions or some consensus upgrade.”

In recent times, the Bitcoin Lightning Network recorded an increase in adoption with the likes of Binance integrating it. However, Deaton believes that the cheap and speed feature of the network was nowhere near XRPL’s SpendTheBits.

However, the legal practitioner did not give cogent reasons other than the fact that he was an investor in the project. Hence, bias may not be a valid reason to dismiss the Lightning Network’s capability. Thus, a simple evaluation of both XRPL and the Lightning Network on-chain condition could give some insights into which is superior.

Uneven distribution remains a cause

To assess the Lightning Network’s capability, one metric to look at is the Gini capacity distribution. This metric is calculated by comparing the actual distribution of Bitcoin capacity among the nodes to a hypothetical uniform distribution.

With a value ranging from 0-1, the Gini coefficient gives an insight into the degree of centralization and potential risks associated with a highly concentrated distribution of Bitcoin capacity

Bitcoin lightning network Gini coefficient

Source: Glassnode

Usually, values closer to 1 indicate a more unequal distribution of Bitcoin capacity among nodes. Conversely, a lower Gini coefficient indicates a more even distribution of Bitcoin capacity. At the time of writing, the Bitcoin Gini capacity distribution was 0.96 as displayed above.

This jump seems to justify Riard’s decision to quit, considering the high level of uneven distribution. But does that make XRPL better than the Lightning Network? Well, that could be a difficult conclusion to arrive at.

XRPL is not entirely as white as snow

Looking at on-chain data again, but this time in XRPL’s direction, Santiment showed that there has been an increase in the amount of trustlines created. Trustlines on the XRP Ledger are structures created for holding tokens only held by an issuer.

While the hike may be impressive, the XRPL also had its own downside. This was because new assets issued on the ledger had been scarce for some weeks.

XRPL trustline data

Source: Santiment

How much are 1,10,100 XRPs worth today?

In conclusion, both the XPRL and Bitcoin Lightning Network have their stronghold. At the same time, the network is not void of challenges. In terms of which is better, it might be a good decision to leave that to the users. 

For instance, there have been updates dedicated to improving the XRPL mainnet. Also, one thing is for sure— the Bitcoin Lightning team, irrespective of the recent drawbacks, is continuously working on solutions.


Victor Olanrewaju is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. Settled in Lagos, his fascination with blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency market arose out of his love of freedom and everything free. As a Nigerian, Victor understands the impact unfounded financial restrictions have on a population. He sees Bitcoin and cryptos as a way to circumvent these obstacles, as a tool for value creation despite all the setbacks. A graduate in Physics, Victor previously worked as a Senior Marketer at Melange Technologies. Before that, he dealt with crypto-marketers on a regular basis in his capacity as Copywriter at Ventrix Media. At AMBCrypto, Victor’s focus is on assessing the real effectiveness of both on-chain and off-chain developments on a project and its community sentiment.
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