On March 15th, 2018, lightning open protocol developer Lightning Lab released its developer-friendly software client Lightning Network Daemon (LND). It’s the first official implementation of a Bitcoin mainnet-ready Lightning Network. For developers, the much-awaited software client connecting to Lightning network should get easier, marking the beginning of a usable “layer two” payments network.
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A Step Forward for Lightning Network
Lightning Network (LN) works towards making bitcoin payments cheaper and faster. LND, the newly released software client, is built on top of the bitcoin blockchain which speeds up transactions. For now, the release will help developers that are building lightning applications.
The company announcement read, “Note that this release is intended for developers of future Lightning applications (Lapps) along with technical users and prospective routing node operators.”
The San Francisco-based company tagged the release as an “important milestone”. The announcement stated that beta version 0.4 is the first mainnet release which is now live. Its main features include “deeper cross-implementation compatibility, a new specialized wallet seed, and a comprehensive fault-tolerance logic.”
Lightning Labs claimed its experimental scaling solution has all the required safety and security. Moreover, it stated that the LND possess fault-tolerance features that are vital for real-world transactions.
Crypto’s Big Names Invest in LN
The Lightning Network has been seen by many crypto enthusiasts as the next revolutionary technological step after blockchain itself.
Moreover, Lightning Labs also revealed that some of the crypto space’s more notable names have ventured into the company. They include Square CEO and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev and Paypal COO David Sacks.
— Litecoin (@litecoin) March 15, 2018
The LND will actually permit transactions for both Bitcoin and Litecoin. The official Twitter handle of Litecoin tweeted “Congrats @lightning! The beta is now live on the Bitcoin and Litecoin mainnet!”
Still Early Days for Lightning So Take Care
Although Lightning Labs has reached a milestone with the release of the first Lightning mainnet release, they cautioned investors not to transact huge amounts, as it is still the early days of the Lightning Network. This release is mainly to serve developers who are building Lightning applications.
Moreover, only users who operate a Bitcoin or Litecoin full node can use the Lightning Network Daemon.
Jack Mallers, a developer working on Lightning wallet, said:
“This release is a step forward for the network itself. What I mean by that is: Before all the apps, we need to build a healthy network that has liquidity, reliability, high-uptime nodes, healthy channels, etc. We need to onboard an entire industry onto a new layer and build a healthy topology. This release kinda marks the ‘start’ so to speak.”
Lightning Network to Return Cheap Transactions, Market Share to Bitcoin?
Originally, Bitcoin’s USP (unique selling proposition), apart from its somewhat anonymous nature, was to perform transactions fast and inexpensively. However, a couple of months back, transactions with BTC became time-consuming and fees skyrocketed due to network congestion.
The situation provided a window for other alternative technologies behind altcoins, such as Ripple consensus mechanism, to gain attention. For a couple of months, Bitcoin’s dominance in the market dropped to around the 32-35 percent range. However, with the introduction of Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s dominance is expected to rise again. At present, the Bitcoin dominance in the crypto market is at 42.6% according to coinmarketcap.com.
Recently, the Lightning Labs divulged that the protocol has passed the 1,000 node milestone on the Bitcoin mainnet implementation.
Will Lightning Network progress increase Bitcoin’s dominance in the crypto market? Let us know your views in the comments section.
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