Lightning Network is based on this idea: "Near-zero fee transactions with hub-and-spoke micropayments" (Link to the article) proposed by Peter Todd.

An article entitled: "Mathematical Proof That the Lightning Network Cannot Be a Decentralized Bitcoin Scaling Solution": (Link to the article) claims that Lightning Network works using centralized hubs.

And the same author in another article entitled: "Clarifying my Objections to the Lightning Network" claims that centralized hubs lead to economic censorship (Link to the article).

There is a new proposed approach entitled: "Ant routing algorithm for the Lightning Network" suggests a decentralized routing mechanism based on Ant colony optimization algorithms (ACO).

Can this new ant routing approach be an efficient solution to enhance decentralization of Lightning Network ? (Since it is not a hub-and-spoke model and removes all privileged nodes in the network.) (Ant routing article link)

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    As my previous comment has been deleted, I'd like to remind meaning of up-voting and down-voting operations: when you put mouse cursor on up-voting sign, a comment appears: "This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear" In contrary, for down-voting, you'll see: "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful" So, when you're down-voting, please keep in mind: Does not this question any research effort? is it unclear? is not it useful? Or ... you just don't like challenging questions against your favorite platforms? Thanks for your attention.
    – Questioner
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 15:27
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    I've responded to Fyookball's first article here: medium.com/@murchandamus/…
    – Murch
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


No as this algorithm introduced in the paper is not very efficient. As far as I understood the paper when it came out basically everyone needs to be involved in finding the path for a single payment.

I want to say a few more things that always get mixed up when talking about decentralization:

  1. Path discovery and building a censorship resistant decentralized network are two different problems. There are many well known techniques also for source based routing to discover paths. It is the privacy property of the lightning network that gives those algorithms a hard time to come up with an accurate response in 100% times of the cases. This would also hold true for the "famous" hub-and-spoke structure.

  2. I want to emphasize that the 2nd and 3rd source don't seem technically sophisticated as they seem to make many assumptions. For example the third source relies on arguments given in this video which are (as I have stated in a comment to that video) just plain false.

  3. It is very natural in almost every decentralized system/network (take the internet or the world wide web or social networks) that central hubs emerge. Having central hubs is not a problem per se. As the lightning network does not require everyone to connect to a central authority every user can decide to connect to other nodes. It might just be economically more useful for users to connect to a central node (in the same sense as people tend to move to larger cities though they are trusting the city to be running well and they don't have to)

  4. Since everything that happens on the lightning network is ultimately backed by the bitcoin network we don't have any problems with censorship. In fact since all the routing is encrypted anyway it would be hard to censor anyone on the lightning network.


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