During the first week of the new year, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been talking about the Lightning Network (LN). So far the protocol has surpassed 610 nodes and 1882 channels while many bitcoiners, businesses, and developers have tried the technology on both testnet and mainnet. This week the virtual private network (VPN) service Torguard initiated mainnet LN payments and claim transfers have close to zero fee settlements.
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Taking Lightning Transactions Further By Playing With Real Bitcoin
The Lightning Network (LN) node count has surpassed 610 nodes this week, and most of the action is taking place on Bitcoin’s testnet. However, news.Bitcoin.com recently reported on the company Bitrefill completing the first “real” LN payment on Bitcoin’s mainnet. Programmer Alex Bosworth paid his phone bill with no fees, and the transactions were settled instantly. Now the anonymous VPN and proxy/email services provider, Torguard, has announced it is now accepting mainnet LN transactions. The company explains customers have to reach out to support for details, and the firm is even willing to take on mainnet LN losses.
“Disclaimer: c-lightning is not production ready — Torguard will cover the loss of funds when sending us LN payments — Testnet is so boring,” explains the VPN service.
Torguard’s recent tweet also shows a demonstration of the firm using mainnet Lightning transactions. According to the firm’s representatives, an invoice fee for one month of service costs only 1 satoshi. If a user has a mainnet node for LN they can contact the company and set up a transaction using the protocol. Of course, users must have funds to set up a channel with Torguard and the initial transaction fee to get started.
A Torguard customer support agent states an invoice fee only costs 1 Satoshi.
Will Lightning Network Arrive This Year? Or Better Yet Will It Solve Congestion Issues and the Rising Fee Market?
Many bitcoiners believe the LN protocol will advance the decentralized currency’s benefits and cure the current wait times and high fees tethered to BTC transactions. Just recently the bitcoin developer Jameson Lopp says the protocol’s rollout has already started:
“The [Lightning Network] rollout has already begun,” explains the Bitgo developer.
This is an iterative distributed learning process; it’s unlikely there will be a single point in time at which we say LN is “deployed” because it will grow organically — Software is never finished.
LN nodes have increased significantly over the past two months.
Proponents hope LN can fix the rising fee market and settlement time issues. As individuals use other networks that have higher transaction volumes, like Ethereum, they’re showing that those blockchains face scaling issues as well.
A diagram of Torgaurd’s Lightning Network channels.
Bitcoin proponents believe businesses like Bitrefill and Torguard testing LN payments on BTC’s mainnet is a good sign of progress. With the many developers from various projects and average users testing the Lightning Network, the chance it arrives this year is
What do you think about the Lightning Network developments? Do you envision the protocol coming into play in 2018 or do you think the infrastructure will take much longer? Let us know what you think about this technology in the comments below.
Images via Pixabay, Twitter, Torguard, and Acinq.
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