Today was a big day for Lightning Labs.
The San Francisco-based Bitcoin startup launched the first Lightning mainnet beta, releasing a robust feature set such as deerper cross-implementation compatibility, a new specialized wallet seed, comprehensive fault-tolerance logic, and a few bug fixes.
According to their blog post, what makes this release special is that it has the option to run on Bitcoin’s mainnet with all the required safety, security, and fault-tolerance features to enable it to be used for real exchanges in the real world.
The Lightning Network is essentially a payment protocol that acts as a second layer on top of a blockchain, enabling near instant transactions between participating nodes. It is often hailed as the premier solution to Bitcoin scalability problem.
While this is a fairly big milestone for Lightning Labs and the blockchain world at large, Lightning Labs notes that it is just the beginning. The team plans to keep working on a series of key infrastructure components to help make Lightning more user-friendly.
Lightning Labs: New Features Live on its first Mainnet Beta
A few of the features released with this version include:
Bitcoin Core Support, a new seed format and deterministic keys, an improved fault tolerance, smarter path finding, Automate Contract Resolution, removal of support for the obsolete P2PKH addresses which will lead to lower fees for all transactions, routing node metrics to track fees and payments at a high volume.
Lightning Seed Financing: The Curtain Opens
While the Lightning Labs engineers and team worked tirelessly testing and refining the multitude of features released today, they were also in talks for a round of seed financing from some big players in the cryptocurrency and startup industry.
A few of the investors include:
Jack Dorsey: CEO of Twitter and Square, one of the largest P2P payment platforms with over 2 million users.
David Sacks: Former PayPal COO.
Vlad Tenev: Robinhood co-founder.
Charlie Lee: Creator of Litecoin.
Just Getting Started:
The release of the mainnet beta marks a major step in making reasonable everyday use for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a reality.
Many of the major valid arguments against Bitcoin have been rooted in its scalability issues like expensive network fees and slow transfer time.
This release shines an optimistic glow on the digital currency for hundreds of thousands of merchants and decentralized currency enthusiasts. However, it’s just the start. Lightning Labs, recently injected with an infusion of seed capital from the above investors, aims to continue building out and refining features to ensure the viability and accessibility of the Lightning Network. A few of the features to look forward to include:
- Watchtowers and backups: These “watchtowers” take on the role of monitoring the blockchain for invalid channel transactions as a secondary line of defense to protect against unplanned service outages.owers can serve as a secondary line of defense in the face of unplanned service outages.
- Atomic Multipath Payments (AMP): This allows Lightning network transactions to be divided into a series of smaller transactions in a way that allows them to be automatically joined back together. The user would only see the total amount of the transaction.
- Desktop and Mobile Apps: A feature to help make Lightning Apps more accessible to a non-technical audience.
- Routing node tools and guides: Tools to help routing node operators optimize revenue, manage capital, and maximize uptime. Next-generation Autopilot and Mission Control: further optimization of simple heuristics for peer finding and routing.
- Cross-Chain Atomic Swaps: Instant, trustless exchange of assets on separate blockchains. For example, this would enable users to exchange Bitcoin and Litecoin without the need for a third party exchange or intermediary.
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