Lightning: the bitcoin technology you really should know.


Lightning: the bitcoin technology you really should know.

“What is bitcoin? Can I buy pizza?

Sports blogger Dave specialized in his premiere asked as the currency investors in the video, the comments cut about the authenticity of the network core: although it is called “digital currency”, but in fact it is not all of the payment today. In short, you are unlikely to stumble upon the wine cellar (you should even spend it).

But that’s not to say that engineers aren’t solving the problem.

That’s one of the most interesting technologies that bitcoin is currently developing is the lightning network.

Not update the currency underlying software (proved this is a chaotic process), 20 for technology actually adds an additional level of trade in this level can be cheaper, faster, but hypothetically, chain blocks with the same security support.

As early as 2015, lightning has evolved from white papers, prototypes, to more advanced prototypes.

This was the latest test, but some users were able to trade through lightning, and some were looking forward to the near future, which passed long-term assumptions and criticisms.

As Jack Mallers, developer of Lightning desktop application Zapp, said:

“The time the public can test with real money is pretty close, but it doesn’t have to be that people can do business on it.”

The first step, the technology

What are the steps before lightning can be used? The lightning engineer has some ideas.

Although Lightning took a big step early this week, engineers still need to publish software that truly allows users to make real Lightning transactions. So the first and most obvious step is to get the lightning out of the cage and see if the user has any problems at this initial stage.

“In the near future, most of the problems will be for Lightning to operate in practice,” researcher Conrad Burchert, of the university of Zurich, Switzerland, told CoinDesk.

And, once lightning starts, engineers foresee other subtle technological challenges, such as the right to “network structure,” Burchert says. For example, bad actors may suspend trading, or users may want more control over the transaction.

From Labs, the co-founder and chief executive of Elizabeth Stark said: “every time you build a new financial deal, you all want to make sure it is safe, so we are working for a variety of security related. Startups focus on technology.

Mr Malus agrees that these technical obstacles need to be addressed before lightning strikes the mainstream.

“All of this needs to be eliminated before I suggest that a company starts to rely on the lightning network to do business or lose money,” says Mr Marles.

“The only thing that can accelerate is more engineers.”

Stark agrees, adding that despite the promise of technology, there is now a surprisingly small number of developers working.

She told CoinDesk: “we need more time now… With 10 or fewer full-time developers working on all of Lightning’s implementations, getting more contributors and building protocols will definitely help us move things.

Hidden wires

Another difficulty is making Lightning applications easy to use.

Applications that support Lightning as a means of payment have emerged, but so far they have been confusing. A lot of wires came out.

Zap is a from a desktop application, requires the user to configure the node and insert the IP address, for example, are far from the money application today, these applications to hide the users of these technical details.

“These things are bound to be hidden,” says Mallers, who imagines that Zap will one day be closer to Venmo, an app that sends small amounts of money to friends. Eventually, the network’s peers look like contacts on a mobile phone. ”

Mahler thinks this has happened.

In application developer, for example, one of the most popular lightning implementation (LND) recently added a feature that is automatically created when the user account between sender and receiver channel, so that users don’t need to understand what it all means. Said.

But that’s not to say he thinks it will happen soon.

“Baby steps,” he continued. “The lightning network is still likely to be a technology user, but we’re going to be able to abstract all of these things, so it’s just a matter of paying and receiving money.

“As far as the lightning network changes the world – I can wave my phone there and pay for things and things – I want to say it takes a year or two,” says Mr Malus.

Chicken and egg problem.

So that’s the question: do users really want to use bitcoin? Even faster, cheaper flash trading?

Alphonse Pace, a bitcoin developer, believes that Lightning’s “network effect” could be a challenge as other users are using the technology and users are motivated to use it.

And who USES it first?

“It’s a chicken and egg problem,” pace said. “The wallet will want people to use it to support it, and people will want it to be supported.”

A similar problem was mentioned by Alex Bosworth, the developer of lightning application HTLC. Me and Yalls.

“There are some guiding issues that we need to have apps that encourage apps and wallets and wallets,” bosworth said.

And even if bitcoin transactions become faster, cheaper (because of lightning), then familiar payment applications such as apple pay, he thinks users will be cautious first.

“If you ask an ordinary person what they want to pay, they might pay for it because they are used to it,” he said.

In conversation, lightning developers hope to overcome these obstacles. But they also think it will take time.

High expectations

While it may take some time to solve these problems, most developers are optimistic that Lightning will help realize the dream of making bitcoin a viable payment system. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Computers and the Internet have not taken decades to reach normal people.

The lightning “will really change the way we send money to each other each day,” he says. But he believes the community may have unrealistic expectations of how long it will take engineers to reach that goal.

“[to these engineers] I want you to go ‘uh, take your time. Would you like some water? But the community seems to be, “why not here tomorrow? “I think the user overestimates the lightning deadline,” he said.

Bosworth also offers a similar optimistic view: “[lightning networks] might be like a WWW email, it may take a while to grow, but the more the better.

He said, adding that his father Adam Bosworth (Adam Bosworth) in 1995, pioneered the technology team of one of the first web browser, like Internet, finally from the research laboratory to go out to ordinary people.

Bosworth said:

“I remember that time, because all the opportunities in the web browser became very exciting, and it reminded me of a lot of things.


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