The lightning network is a peer-to-peer system that functions as a second layer payment protocol that operates on a blockchain, mostly Bitcoin and allows micropayments of digital cryptocurrency through a network of bidirectional payment channels without delegating custody of funds and minimizing trust of third parties. It is believed to be a solution to the Bitcoin scalability problem and enables instant transactions between participating nodes.
On March 15, 2018, the Lightning Labs announced lnd 0.4 beta, the first beta release of the lightning software implementation. This was followed by a second implementation known as éclair which was released last week. A third one known as c-lightning is expected to be released very soon.
The Lightning Network has gained its first user mobile application in the form of ACINQ’s Eclair wallet which came out on the 4th of April. The application is now available in Playstore on the Android platform and can be run on devices that have Android version 5.0 and above.
A description written by ACINQ reads:
“Lightning channels are outbound only: you can pay with LN but you cannot receive or forward payments with this wallet. For the complete LN experience, run a full Eclair Node.”
The above mentioned lines are stated as the limitations of the Eclair wallet. The description also includes instructions regarding opening a Lightning Network channel, sending a Lightning Network payment and closing a channel.
Since the mass adoption of SegWit in February and March this year, Lightning network’s pace of development has quickened.
The people on social media reacted by encouraging ACINQ to release an equivalent for iOS to which commentators responded by saying that it could be no easy task due to coding requirements.
The LNmainnet incorporates 1337 public nodes and 3811 open channels at press time. In future, LN is expected to allow all Bitcoin users to send transactions instantly with a fee that amounts to fractions of a US cent.
Several questions were raised on Twitter regarding this.
Jordan Fayter, a Twitteratti commented:
“What are your thoughts on the Eclair wallet for android phones? Can you see it being a good lightning network wallet? I’ve tried 5 or more transactions with it and have done some research on the app, company and software.”
Another Twitterer commented:
“I have built an (unlaunched) social app called Approachable for iOS and Android. Looking to add Apple Pay, Google Pay and, eventually, Lightning Network. Marketing is the challenge for this type of app. Looking at starting with tips.”
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