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LN 1.0 stable is released some time in the next few years.
People learn they need to lock up funds into channels before they are able to spend anything. Locking up funds in the wrong channel means they can't spend at certain merchants. Locking up funds in the right channel requires unavoidable effort and research. Worst case scenario: you can't reliably determine whether or not a route exists so you decide to go to spend your BTC at a merchant who doesn't have an existing route to your wallet. You end up paying with VISA instead and you have Bitcoins locked up in a channel you don't want to use anywhere else.
LN fails to gain adoption because these problems are unavoidable and we go back to the drawing board. Maybe layer 1 solutions where it always works every time and doesn't introduce a system making use of miners' work for security but not paying them at all for it.
There is definitely much that needs to be improved with Lightning first before it can be considered the true 2nd layer. The ability to refill a channel would be nice. The ability to use funds from other channels you have open to fulfill a pay request would be nice. Channel rebalancing built-in would be nice. More connectivity and better autopilot channel selection would be nice.
I'm willing to change my mind and learn where my mistaken assumptions are, but if you wouldn't care to discuss it, then neither would I.
Seems like this community has changed a lot since the beginning. Oh well!
The early Internet and its nay-sayers would be a good comparison if:
1. Phone lines were single-directional and
2. You needed to know where to lock up funds in which channel routed to another node before sending it traffic.
It's not a good comparison because phone lines were big enough to carry bandwidth for websites and general browsing, and they were all accessible on-demand as long as you paid a small fee to the ISP/phone carrier for general usage. That isn't the case with LN: if a route exists but there's no funds locked up in a channel in the direction you need, you simply can't use it until you or someone else funds it.
So you think the design itself can't work. I’m of different advice, the network will grow with adoption and all the issues you wrote in your first message will be totally transparent to users, they don't have to guess if there is a route or if the channel they opened is well connected. Most of them won't even know to be on a second layer, just like internet users today don't have any clue of how the internet works