Lightning Network nodes have claimed $24,000 in 'justice transactions' to deter bad actors, research shows

The Lightning Network implements a security measure called ‘justice transactions’ which removes funds from dishonest nodes.

According to a recent report by BitMEX Research, the Lightning Network removed 2.22 bitcoin (~$23,900) connected to dishonest transactions.

The report explains ‘justice transactions’ are designed so that “when a thief attempts to steal funds on the lightning network, if caught, they not only lose the money they tried to steal, they lose all the funds in the relevant channel. This ‘punishment’ is expected to act as a deterrent and is sometimes called ‘justice’.”


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The study analyzed transactions starting from November 2017 until June 2019. It identified a total of  241 possible dishonest transactions which totaled 2.22 bitcoin. However, it does not mean that thieves tried to steal all that money—some of it might have been confiscated when the justice transaction kicked in.

BitMEX Research also suggests not all of these transactions might have been really dishonest as some of them might be false positives. Moreover, some users might have been testing the system.

“The total number of justice transactions in the last 18 months is therefore only 0.7% of the current number of lightning channels,” report reads.