Lightning Network Development Continues
Blockstream, a firm focused on the development of cryptocurrency infrastructure, recently announced the release of c-lightning 0.6, a protocol built on the Lightning Network.
For the uninitiated, the Lightning Network is a Bitcoin scaling solution built upon the idea of near-instant transactions that cost under a cent. The early stages of the Lightning Network rolled out within the past year, have been met with mixed reviews, with some stating that it isn’t ready for widespread adoption.
This new and improved protocol is a complete revamp of the previous version, allowing for the implementation of new features, that will hopefully allow for a better user experience.
The new features included in c-lightning 0.6 are as follows:
- Lightweight Nodes
This feature allows for a c-lightning Bitcoin node to be run on low-powered devices like the Raspberry Pi, allowing for higher node adoption.
- ‘Gossip’ Protocol
This new protocol essentially allows low-powered and mobile devices operating on the Lightning Network to use less bandwidth while syncing up with the network, saving bandwidth through the omission of data that isn’t needed.
- API Stability
The API stability seen in this new update will allow for projects to be built on top of c-lightning, as Blockstream will support the API for the “foreseeable future.”
- Wallet and sync
C-lightning now has a wallet that supports on-chain and off-chain funds for the Lightning Network. This system will be fully secure, with users not being required to directly interact with the wallet to move funds to the internal wallet
- TOR support
This feature is simple enough as c-lightning now accepts nodes run over the TOR network, increasing the privacy and anonymity of node operators.
- Payment Logic
Some users of the Lightning Network find trouble making consistent transactions. However, c-Lightning 0.6 has improved its logic system, allowing for better transaction management through “automatic retires for routing failures, randomization of route selection and better feedback about the current state of a payment.”
Lightning Network Grows At A Rapid Rate
Many users criticized the Lightning Network for having a low Bitcoin capacity, with some users reporting that the network had a capacity of less than one Bitcoin. This was true, there were only 46 channels for the Lightning Network in January, bringing its capacity to around 0.682 Bitcoin. Since then, the Lightning Network has grown rapidly, and now has over 7,800 open channels with a staggering 26 Bitcoin channel throughput.
The Blockstream Blog stated:
That is a 16,856% increase in channels and a 4,084% increase in channel capacity in 6 months!
Many users hope that this adoption can continue, as the Lightning Network cements itself as a viable way in which Bitcoin can scale to the masses.
Bitcoin Fees Drop To Manageable Levels
Although development continues on the popular scaling solution (Lightning Network), Bitcoin fees have dropped to sustainable levels, finding stability at around one U.S. dollar. Although seen as a positive development by some, others have begun to worry that this decrease in fees in due to lack of interest in the use of the Bitcoin blockchain. Some attributed the slowdown to decreasing prices (and hype), along with other users just ‘HODLing’ their cryptocurrencies.
In addition, Segwit adoption has also become prevalent, with many cryptocurrency services offering support for Segwit as a way to decrease transaction fees. This $1 fee is a far cry from what was seen months ago, as Bitcoin fees temporarily reached over $50. At that time, users began to criticize BTC for having fees that resembled traditional financial institutions.
Since then, Bitcoin fees have remained a popular topic in the industry, as altcoins like Ethereum and Litecoin offer fees that are often under 10 cents. It is clear that if Bitcoin fees will need to continue lower if it wants to hold its place as the figurehead of ‘digital cash’, through the use of scaling solutions like Segwit and the Lightning Network.