Here's an incredible 22-minute presentation from Dhruv Bansal and Ryan Gentry at the Bitcoin 2021 conference that dives into the budding and potential stack of protocols and applications that are and can be built on top of BTC/LN. I highly recommend you freaks check it out when you get the chance.
A couple of things that really stuck out to me were the ideas that the Lightning Network is something that should be viewed as something much more than simply a payments layer and the layers above the protocol layer drive value toward the protocol layer. The Lightning Network presents the ability to build a communications and data transfer stack on top of the Bitcoin base layer. Providing the world with significantly more distributed apps than are offered in the mainstream. Think Sphinx Chat over Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp and others.
The utility provided via the layers above the base layer will drive significantly more activity and value to the base layer in the form of funding transactions that come attached with fees. This line of thinking reinforces something I've been saying for some time now, Jevon's Paradox can be applied to a Bitcoin UTXO. As the layers above the base layer allow users to do more things and do those things more efficiently over time, demand for onchain UTXO transfers will increase alongside activity on the evolving stack. Think DeFi applications leveraging discrete log contracts, Lightning Network enabled VoIP applications, spinning up a VPN on Lightning, or tacking on a third layer above Lightning that allows individuals to tokenize things if they want to.
This is all possible on the Bitcoin stack. It will just take time and patience as the engineers building this stack out ensure that everything is sufficiently resilient to state attack, scalable, reliable, private, and as light weight as possible, among other things. This patient approach is setting up Bitcoin to truly dominate in the long run because it has respected the necessary order of operations that enables this type of distributed system to survive and remain truly decentralized in the long-run. This seems to be playing out in the wild as projects that have taken the opposite approach - give the users everything they want immediately and figure out resiliency and scaling later - are beginning to run head first into problems being caused by an engineering mindset that ignores the necessary order of operations.
Stop reading my dumb ramblings and go peep the presentation.
One-and-a-half year olds sprinting on concrete may be one of the most stress inducing sights on the planet.