Fast, functional Lightning Network transactions on Bitcoin took a big step closer to reality today. Developers Lightning Labs released a live demonstration showing a transaction between multiple LN implementations on the BTC mainnet.
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This demonstration on Lightning Labs YouTube channel follows the announcement of the first 1.0 release candidate going live on the testnet, including interoperability between the implementations by ACINQ, Blockstream and Lightning Labs. The description describes the process in detail, proclaiming:
“This payment marks the first multi-hop, cross-implementation payment on Bitcoin’s mainnet. All transaction performed in the video were performed completely off-chain, instantly, and with virtually zero fees. Lightning allows instant, low-fee payments on Bitcoin, enabling the system to scale further for the next wave of adoption. Additionally, Lightning unlocks a new class of use cases for Bitcoin enabled by the ability to instantly send low-fee payments on the system.”
This is big for bitcoin. Not only are the several extant LN implementations available, but all of them are proven to share compatibility, and the spec seems to allow for future implementations to operate the same way. As Eclair, C-Lightning, Zap Wallet and Lnd App go live in the coming months, bitcoin will scale to many more transactions per second, at lower fees per transfer than ever before. While no hard timeline for mainnet release has yet been announced, we can reasonably expect a launch before the end of Q1 2018.
With a finalized spec out there, others will be able to develop and integrate LN into their own products, start their own channel processors and more. The demonstrations showcased by developers even include an example coffee storefront, and a payment to Yalls.org, a site that pays (and charges users for) papers with the lightning network, for a press release. New use cases for this technology will emerge as the software matures, but already we’re seeing creative uses being deployed by early adopters.
Will we have LN on the mainnet anytime soon? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Images and video via Lightning labs