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Subreddit /r/Bitcoin Hits One Million Subscriber Milestone

Stalwart if controversial Bitcoin community subreddit “/r/Bitcoin” has hit the one million subscriber mark.

Stalwart Bitcoin (BTC) community subreddit “/r/Bitcoin” has hit the one million subscriber mark, according to a post from moderator “ibelite” Dec. 2.

One of the most well-known online Bitcoin communities, /r/Bitcoin was founded in September 2010, almost two years after the release of the Bitcoin white paper. The subreddit has reached the one million subscribers point amidst the recent market slump beginning on Nov. 14, which continued throughout the week as Bitcoin fell below $4,000 on Nov. 29.

The subreddit notes in its description that they are “dedicated to Bitcoin, the currency of the Internet,” continuing:

“Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you like cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics”

As of press time, Bitcoin is trading at around $4,022, down more than 36 percent on the month, but up more than 4 percent on the week.

An alternative subreddit, dubbed “/r/btc,” was later created on the site in order “to foster and support free and open Bitcoin discussion” in response to allegations that the /r/Bitcoin forum moderators were engaging in censorship against certain themes, specifically debate over increase in blocksize.

User “theymos,” the high-profile /r/Bitcoin moderator at the center of the censorship controversy, has also defended his alleged censorship by noting that “posts about anything especially emotionally-charged [such as the about the block size debate] will be deleted unless they introduce some very substantial new ideas about the subject.”

One dissenting redditor, whose post received an 89 percent upvote, countered this explanation, arguing “How is the Bitcoin community supposed to build consensus to do a hard fork when the /r/bitcoin mods ban any discussion of a hard fork proposal that does not have consensus?”

Roger Ver, prominent advocate of the Bitcoin hard fork Bitcoin Cash (BCH), tweeted his own opinion that /r/Bitcoin is allegedly “completely censored and has been for nearly 3 years now.”

As reported, Bitcoin Cash was itself hard forked as a solution for Bitcoin’s scalability problem. The altcoin has a maximum block size of eight megabytes (as against one in the original Bitcoin blockchain).

Just last month, Bitcoin Cash again hard-forked into two separate currencies, BCH and Bitcoin SV (BSV), as opposing factions failed to reach consensus over further changes to the protocol.

As of press time, /r/btc has 231,000 subscribers — a little under a quarter of that of its rival /r/Bitcoin.

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CoinGate’s Lightning Network To Boost Bitcoin Adoption, 4,000 Merchants Already Onboard

The Lightning Network is about to breach the 102 BTC capacity, and that could very well be the nicest thing to happen to Bitcoin of late. The Lightning Network brings to Bitcoin what everyone has been waiting for all along: A faster, secure payment processing system right at the top of the Bitcoin blockchain. That’s exactly what CoinGate sought to achieve when it introduced the Lightning Network.

It’s Like An Off-Shoot Of The Chain

Basically, this network acts as an off-chain layer to the Bitcoin blockchain where a batch of transactions can be processed before the underlying general chain or ledger is updated. This has the good effect of boosting the transaction processing speed since the system doesn’t have to update every transaction instance separately.

Granted, such a positive development would obviously attract players and support from various bases, especially the key stake-holders like merchants. At the moment, CoinGate has decided to add its 4,000-strong merchant base to the Lightning Network, a move that could result in an overall improvement in terms of use of the cryptocurrency. In return, this increased adoption would boost Bitcoin’s trading volumes and impact the coin’s market value positively.

Speed, Low Fees, Sharp Growth, And Zero Errors

Besides processing transactions in milliseconds, the Lightning Network also significantly reduces transaction fees. The Lightning Network facilitates instant transactions and boosts the scalability of the underlying Bitcoin blockchain network. Currently, various versions of Lightning Wallets are used by a number of transaction processing entities that act on behalf of the merchants.  The merchants include Lois Chevrolet, Livejasmine, and Chronoswiss. The network was first introduced by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja back in 2015 when the Lithuanian-based company, CoinGate, entered the market.

A look at the network’s recent growth rate confirms that its impact on the Bitcoin market will be significant. Over the past month alone, the network’s capacity has shot up by 5%, node count has increased by 10%, and channel count has gone up by 6%. At the moment, the network boasts 3,369 nodes running over 12,000 channels. Within the past 6 months, the network capacity has shot up from 3 BTC to the current 102.64 BTC.

During its initial beta test, the network was involved with 100 stores selected from all across the world, and not a single error was recorded. That’s a huge plus for a payment processing system that’s handling billions of transactions per second. In terms of partnerships, CoinGate is yet to associate with any US entity, but that’s expected to happen in the coming year. All said and done, the Lightning Network seems pretty poised to take Bitcoin adoption to a whole new level.

The post CoinGate’s Lightning Network To Boost Bitcoin Adoption, 4,000 Merchants Already Onboard appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Bitcoin's Lightning Network Is Getting Its Own Hacker Camp

You’re scrolling through an online electronic store, when a new drone catches your eye.

Eager to fly it for real, you enter a string of numbers to submit your payment. You’re not thinking at all about how, behind the scenes, it’s bitcoin that makes the impulse purchase possible.

Far-fetched today? Maybe, but that’s the sort of easy user experience the bitcoin developers at Chaincode Labs think is missing from the world of cryptocurrency, even now that a much-anticipated technology layer known as the Lightning Network is in beta. While it’s perhaps bitcoin’s best shot at reaching mainstream adoption, it’s not exactly easy to use today, or as easy as developers envision it could be.

That’s why the group, led by veterans Alex Morcos and Matt Corallo, has held similar coding programs focused exclusively on bitcoin. Developers from around the world travel to New York to learn about the intricate details of the protocol and its most essential code.

However, announced Monday, Chaincode is launching a new “residency” in New York from October 22 to 26, one that will focus on helping developers build their own Lightning Network apps.

The goal, according to Chaincode engineer and bitcoin software maintainer Marco Falke, is for the program to create tech “for normal people on the street, not just weird developers.” In short, they’re looking for some fresh blood. Any and all experienced web developers are welcome to apply – no bitcoin expertise required.

Falke told continued:

“There aren’t many apps and you can’t go into a shop and pay with bitcoin. There’s all this missing infrastructure. We thought it would be great to get some app developers involved that have experience building websites, but don’t have to have any background in bitcoin or lightning.”

Though, it’s worth noting a few lightning apps have already sprung up showing how bitcoin and lightning can be paired to improve online payments. Even so, the developers at Chaincode hope the one-week bootcamp will spur even more apps.

Teachers will include some of the more well-known lightning developers in the space, including Blockstream engineer Christian Decker and Cornell professor Elaine Shi.

What the residency’s about

But while Chaincode calls the program a “residency,” its program sounds similar to a coding bootcamp, an increasingly common way of teaching coding skills in a short period of time.

This bootcamp is traditional in some ways, of course, as the team will take applications until they “reach capacity” of roughly 12 students. However, from there, the class will focus on lightning specifically.

The six instructors will each give a presentation on the protocol. But they’ll also be around for the full residency, helping out students as they have questions. That’s because for most of the residency, participants will have time to work on an app of their choosing.

The app can be anything they want – a fun game like Satoshis.place, where users fight over pixel drawings, or something more serious, like an app allowing users to pay for monthly bills.

At the end of the week, participants will demo what they’ve made to the rest of the group.

Soon after the residency the Chaincode team will release recordings of all the presentations, for those who can’t make it out to New York City for the bootcamp.

App focus

Though a small program, for the industry, it perhaps sends a stronger signal, as Lightning developers have been mostly focused on getting the underlying lightning protocol off the ground to date.

But Chaincode’s developers believe that maybe the ecosystem could use more application developers now that there’s an increasing emphasis on the code’s usability.

“Personally, I think every day we wait for lightning applications will delay lightning and bitcoin. It’s really important to do this app development thing as soon as possible,” Falke continued.

Chaincode engineer James O’Beirne went so far as to argue that the applications could be key to shifting public perception of bitcoin, which has largely been on its speculative value of late.

“A lot of people outside of bitcoin don’t understand it’s capabilities, including lightning. By facilitating app development we’re spreading awareness of what bitcoin is actually capable of,” O’Beirne said. “People have turned to other smart contract platforms because they don’t understand how powerful bitcoin can be.”

Falke nodded in agreement: “Some people don’t think lightning is a real thing.”

That’s why they’re inviting all sorts of developers to participate, especially those who aren’t “bitcoin experts.”

Falke concluded:

“They should have interest. But that’s pretty much it,”

Lightning image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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The Code for an Anonymous Lightning Network is Now Live

The lightning network is due for a privacy boost.

That’s according to Dr. Ayo Akinyele, a computer scientist who has focused his efforts on building a zcash implementation of anonymous off-chain payment architecture called BOLT. And today that work was published on Github.

First conceived by zcash founders Matthew Green and Ian Miers in 2016, the code is inspired by the bitcoin scaling solution, lightning network, and seeks to unlock high levels of transaction throughput while adding payment confidentiality.

“The lightning network has solved the initial issue with scalability, and now that gives us the opportunity to deal with the privacy problem. That is the strength of the BOLT design,” Akinyele told CoinDesk.

Using blind signatures and zero-knowledge proofs, BOLT obscures transactions, balances and sender and receiver identities. Plus, because it’s built to function along with privacy-oriented cryptocurrency zcash, users can open a channel using shielded transactions, thereby anonymizing the initial connection to the network.

“BOLT is one approach that could lead to very promising results for privacy, and I’m excited to be on the front line of pursuing that,” Akinyele said.

Today’s release allows for the “bidirectional” use case — or payment channels that can move funds back and forth between two participants.

In order to be activated on the cryptocurrency, new code would need to be added to the zcash repository, in what is called a “soft fork” — or a type of change that doesn’t require all versions of the software to update.

Going forward, the team behind BOLT is hoping to follow a similar development plan to the lightning network itself — deploying it as an open testnet to allow users to battletest the software.

“It would be awesome to deploy this, similar to what lightning had done, and allow people to test on the testnet and then gradually get toward the mainnet,” Akinyele said.

And while the current release has been optimized for zcash, in the future, Akinyele plans to develop it as a privacy extension for the lightning network itself, telling CoinDesk:

“The next step is to retrofit these properties to bitcoin and litecoin on the lightning network, probably as a shielded transaction option, similar to what zcash offers now.”

First steps and beyond

Speaking to CoinDesk, Akinyele said today’s release marks a minimal sketch of BOLT’s fundamental architecture.

“This initial implementation is based on CL signatures and very standard techniques for blind signatures and zero-knowledge proofs, and so it is a very basic construction that has been well known to cryptographers for a couple of decades now,” Akinyele said.

While that’s very technical, simply it uses digital signature technology that’s been around for some time and so is proven efficient. Yet, there’s still work to expand some of the architecture’s capabilities.

“This first implementation is just a concrete implementation of one version of that architecture, though in the future BOLT could look very different,” Akinyele said.

Still, it’s technically viable to implement and requires minimal changes to zcash in order to get into the testing phase.

And crucially, having specified the initial architecture, it’s easier to further iterate the protocol, as well as building support for other cryptocurrencies — the next significant step in the BOLT development roadmap.

As Akinyele told CoinDesk:

“Now we have one approach implemented we can decide what is the next approach that we want to try and which cryptocurrency can it benefit.”

Cryptocurrencies that are similar in structure to zcash, such as bitcoin and litecoin, are low hanging fruit for such implementations.

Added privacy

Such additions would be applied to the lightning network itself, as an option for users looking to anonymize their payment channel usage.

“It’s a privacy add-on,” Akinyele said.

And that’s because, while lightning itself deploys some privacy-enhancing features, the robustness of that privacy is a point of contention for academics. For example, if lightning settles in what is termed a “hub-and-spoke” structure, there’s a risk that nodes with high processing throughput can have an overview of transactions as they run through the network.

While lightning also employs a technique called onion-routing, in which users can route payments through many different channels to hide the contents of a payment, Akinyele warned that the practice might not catch on.

“They do have some features for encryption, you can route your payment through multiple hops, which is great, but when you talk about bidirectional payments and some of the more basic use-cases that most people will gravitate towards, there is no privacy,” he explained.

As such, there’s a risk users will opt for convenience – such as users linking their transaction histories by using the same bitcoin address repeatedly – rather than the more complex, yet privacy-preserving options.

“We have seen how this movie plays out in bitcoin,” Akinyele said.

Learning from leaks

Still, having identified these potential leaks was useful for the development of the BOLT architecture.

Specifically, Akinyele said the design owes a lot to the popularity of the lightning network payment channels being used today, which are beginning to reveal what the network could look like.

“Having lightning exist and being used has been very helpful in figuring out how to do privacy correctly,” he told CoinDesk.

“We’re seeing patterns emerge – centralization of some hubs are forming where a lot of people are using the same paths to route payments. All of these patterns are emerging, so it’s giving us a real insight into okay, where is the real privacy problem, and what would be the best technique to deal with that,” Akinyele continued.

And not only that, but going forward, Akinyele feels that BOLT could provide a private link between zcash, bitcoin and litecoin — a layer-two interoperability that he hopes could dismantle some of the tribalism that occurs in cryptocurrency today.

He concluded:

“It provides an option to figure out how we can get away from ‘this currency does this, this currency does that,’ and just start thinking more longer term and big picture with how we want to use these currencies in the real world.”

Lightning image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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You Can Now Get Paid (A Little) For Using Bitcoin's Lightning Network

Those running lightning nodes are earning a little extra bitcoin.

Trumpeted as a way to scale bitcoin to handle mainstream adoption, there’s a lesser-known perk to spinning up a lightning node to allow users to send cheap, instant payments – you can make money.

To be clear, we’re not talking very much.

Today’s average fee on the lightning network clocks in at about one satoshi, worth a fraction of a cent, per hop (so every time a node routes the transaction to another node). As such, one of lightning’s prominent application developers, Alex Bosworth, reported a monthly income of roughly $2.

Though the profits are pretty meager now, they could be a sign of how the network will develop over time.

The lightning network is what the name implies: a network. In order to send a payment to someone, the payment will typically bounce across several different nodes before it reaches the recipient – similar to the old-style mail carriers passing letters or packages from person to person to get it to its destination.

On the network, each node operator has the option of charging a small fee for carrying the payment a part of the way.

Because this fee market is already emerging, it displays that crypto enthusiasts are more than willing to take some risks (people using the nascent lightning network right now have actually been labeled “reckless” by the protocol’s developers).

Speaking to this, Bosworth recently tweeted:

“I think for many people, even OG HODLers, the satoshis earned for providing routing will be among the first bitcoin they ever earn outside of coin trading.”

Tweaking the fee

Still, there are some hurdles to earning satoshis with lightning.

For now, participating in the lightning network takes some technical know-how and quite a bit of digital storage capacity. Anyone who wants to route a lightning payment needs to download bitcoin’s entire transaction history, nearly 200 GB of data, and then download the lightning software on top of that.

Currently, there are at least 3,000 nodes on the network.

After becoming a node, the user needs to update the default fee feature, which is set at zero. For the LND implementation of lightning, one of the most popular, this ability to change the fee and monitor how much you’re earning from the fee is relatively new.

“In LND, it used to be that you couldn’t see what kind of fees you were earning, but that feature was added in and that spurred more fee activity,” Bosworth told CoinDesk.

Yet, another thing to keep in mind is that users are competing with each other here.

In order to get more people to use their node as a hop in their route, nodes can’t charge too much (that’s why Bosworth’s fees are so low).

But even the lowest of fees are sometimes passed over. For whatever reason, right now, many lightning nodes aren’t charging any fees; it’s possible many of the nodes are just lightning enthusiasts that aren’t worried about making money from their interest.

As such, Bosworth believes some users are probably avoiding his node.

And the users that do route payments through his node, Bosworth guesses, those are probably just users that don’t have any other route options for getting their payment where it needs to go.

Reasons for fees

While it’s impossible to know how the market will evolve at this point, developers believe there are beneficial reasons for allowing fees.

“You want the system to work not just because people have kind hearts,” Ben Woosley, a developer of the lightning wallet app Zap, told CoinDesk, adding:

“As the network grows and a smaller portion are using it for ideological reasons, fees will move toward a more economic outcome.”

Even if fees remain tiny, Woosley continued, they can be useful for a number of reasons.

For one, the network needs liquidity. Each lightning node has a certain amount of “liquidity,” or how much money can be routed through it based on how much money the operator has locked up in the channel. Channels with more money will be able to support bigger payments or many more payments, and because of that service might be able to charge for those hops, Woosley argued.

Plus, fees also “provide a way for nodes to encourage or discourage people to join their channels,” Woosley added.

In this way, lightning developers have even instituted a negative fee for the case where a node actually wants to pay users for routing money through them. This might happen if, for example, a channel runs out of money in one direction and needs to be “rebalanced” with more funds.

And, Bosworth notes, specialized lightning payments, such as those trading one cryptocurrency for another, will be more complex and as such, could be spendier.

Predicting fees?

Yet, according to Bosworth, “This is a market, so predicting [costs] will be super tough.”

That said, many developers believe fees will remain quite low in the future as well.

For one thing, the costs of spinning up a node and routing payments via the lightning network are not that high. Sure, it takes time – more time than downloading a traditional mobile payment app. But it doesn’t have a lot of financial costs.

For that reason, lightning network co-authors Tadge Dryja and Joseph Poon predicted back in 2016 that fees would be “effectively zero.” And, so far, their prediction is holding up.

“I think the payment routing system will eventually settle to what is basically just a ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ level,” pseudonymous lightning developer ZmnSCPxj said.

In other words, the developer guesses that routing people’s payments for a minuscule fee will be done so that others will route their lightning payments for cheap as well.

And with that, many believe that lightning payments will be far cheaper than current online payment systems – a scenario that will excite long-time bitcoin enthusiasts that were passionate about the technology because of its ability to upend the legacy systems.

“Credit cards charge around 3 percent, so lightning will probably be orders of magnitudes cheaper than credit cards,” Woosley said, concluding:

“My expectation is [lightning fees] will be negligible, like less than a cent, forever.”

Shiny penny image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Bitcoin's Open Secret: Lightning Is Making Better Online Payments Possible

PayPal 2.0?

That may have been a rallying cry for early bitcoin believers who saw the cryptocurrency as a superior form of payment, but excitement tapered off as bitcoin ran up against technical limitations. Yet, the idea may now be coming back in vogue – apps being built on the layer-two technology lightning network, which this year entered beta, already showcase transactions traditional payments systems just can’t do.

In that way, the technology might allow the cryptocurrency to leapfrog the card networks and other payment startups using traditional rails. The application that’s getting the most attention is the ridiculously small digital payments lightning makes possible for the first time.

For instance, an app called SatoshiTweets allows users to pay a very small fee via the lightning network to send a tweet from a shared Twitter account.

After using the application, one user tweeted:

“I bought an exclamation mark.”

The user noted that the punctuation cost 10 satoshis, worth a fraction of a fraction of a penny.

While a paywall for tweeting might sound like a user-experience nightmare, SatoshiTweets has drawn excitement for its novelty nonetheless – primarily because these kinds of transactions are unheard of through the payments systems that have mass adoption today.

That’s because sending a digital payment isn’t without cost, even if it isn’t always passed directly onto the user.

PayPal, for example, charges $0.05 plus a percentage fee per transaction. In other words, if you were to make a payment that small, PayPal’s fees would eat the entire transaction, making it nonsensical to execute.

Teeny-tiny payments might not sound all that compelling (some argue the mental costs are too high), but researchers working closely to the cryptocurrency now believe it could open up an array of new business models and maybe even enable some more sci-fi-sounding use cases.

As such, lightning’s ability to make the dream of bitcoin outpacing the traditional, centralized payment giants a reality is spawning all sorts of experimentation to demonstrate how these new small payments can be applied to apps in other ways.

Lightning’s leverage

First and foremost, many apps are taking advantage of the low fees allowed by the lightning network.

“With Paypal, you couldn’t really send an amount as low as 1,000 satoshis – or $0.06 – because their fee is higher than that,” Rui Gomes, a developer at Lightning Spin, an online gambling app running on the lightning network, told CoinDesk.

Plus, Gomes argued, when it comes to online casinos, smaller fees are what keep the business alive, since the company can charge a small fee on every play in order to keep a consistent revenue stream.

Lightning Spin also showcases how the lightning network can enable faster payments.

With bitcoin by itself, users still had to wait for miner confirmation on their transactions and so couldn’t cash out immediately. But with lightning, real-time payments are a breeze, as long as users already have a payment channel (or a connection with other peers on the network) established.

“I’ve built [Lightning Spin] with the sole purpose of demonstrating that it is possible to have a betting game where you can deposit and withdraw your earnings instantly,” Gomes concluded.

Another advantage of using bitcoin-based payment technology is that the companies launching these applications then have more control over the development.

While Visa, for instance, offers a way for developers to integrate payments into an app, users need to register on the website, which means Visa has some level of control over who uses their system.

Speaking to this, David Knezic, who developed a lightning app that he presented at a recent “hackday,” said:

“Bitcoin payments can be integrated by anyone into anything without ever having to ask for permission – unlike many other systems.”

From cute to futuristic

With that freedom, developers are envisioning applications that range from the silly and sweet to the sci-fi.

Knezic’s recent contribution to lightning development is a candy dispenser that spills out M&Ms when sent a lightning payment. According to him, the fun project was meant to show how bitcoin payments can reach beyond the digital realm.

And while that’s probably not lightning’s “killer app,” what has taken hold among lightning users is a digital artboard.

Called Satoshi’s Place, the application allows users to send a small lightning payment to purchase and paint single pixels (or the whole board for roughly $65) on an online canvas. The application garnered huge amounts of attention in June as it became a magnet for a mixture of vulgar graffiti, memes and cryptocurrency symbols which displayed the territorial battles that continue to rage in the space.

And even today is remains the most popular lightning app.

Lightning K0ala, the pseudonymous developer who maintains Satoshi’s Place, believes the application could go far beyond just trash-talking though.

Speaking to an age-old idea and what he hopes will be an emergent use case for lightning, Lightning K0ala told CoinDesk: “Over time, hopefully it will give insight into micropayments as a spam-prevention mechanism.”

But some of the concepts for lightning go far beyond solving problems that already exist today.

For instance, one of the most ambitious early lightning adopters is the AI imaging company CloudSight, whose CEO believes lightning will pave the way for allowing autonomous machines to make small, instant payments to one another.

Why would machines need to pay each other? According to founder and CEO Brad Folkens, autonomous cars could pay each other for tiny bits of data, such as fuel price and traffic conditions. And that’s just one use case.

Right now, Cloudsight is using lightning for something simpler (and fun). The company recently began accepting lightning payments for customers who want to use their AI API. Customers send images to the API, which spits out a caption generated by an AI.

“This new tool can now enable advanced value interactions for an exchange of information that was previously impossible,” Folkens said.

Getting there

Still, while it might seem like everyone should be flocking to lightning because of its perks, there’s still one big downside – it’s a complex setup.

As it relates to Cloudsight’s application, the instructions for paying with lightning are quite long, asking users to spin up a bitcoin node well over 100 gigabytes, which is a considerable storage requirement.

It’s a far cry from the convenience of PayPal – input some personal information and a credit card number and start spending.

Despite this and other hurdles that might appear as the network gets real usage, the hope is that lightning will grow easier to use as the technology matures – much like bitcoin has become since its release.

Someday, maybe even easy enough that users can buy exclamation points and photo captions without blinking an eye. And that’s the bitcoin that many of the industry’s first enthusiasts are looking forward to.

As Chris Steward, a contributor to the bitcoin software, tweeted recently:

“Lightning fits the bill for how bitcoin was advertised in 2013.”

Lightning-enabled candy machine image via Exchange Union Twitter

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Litecoin (LTC) Compliments Bitcoin and is Currently Massively Discounted, Says Market Analyst

In an exclusive commentary from Mati Greenspan (eToro’s Senior Market Analyst), Ethereum World News was made privy of a new research paper on Litecoin (LTC) by eToro. In the paper, Mr. Greenspan explores Litecoin (LTC) from all angles such as its history, market statistics, technical background, as well as recent and future developments.

One of the highlights of Greenspan’s commentary, was that Litecoin is not aiming to unseat Bitcoin. He explained this fact as follows:

Unlike many cryptos Litecoin isn’t aiming to unseat bitcoin, it actually plays more of a supportive role, like silver does with gold. The faster and easier transactions make it a bit more usable in everyday commerce and it also functions as a store of value.

As the world’s second major cryptocurrency, Litecoin is one of the most established and trusted names in crypto and it has an extremely vibrant community.

The research paper goes on to outline the recent and future developments of Litecoin as follows:

  • Litecoin facilitates the implementation of new developments for Bitcoin and crypto in general e.g implementing the Lightning Network and Segwit
  • Several business are offereing LTC based payments e.g Alza.cz, Wirex, eGifter, CheapAir
  • Litcoin Foundation bought a 9.9% stake in German WEB Bank which will further LTC adoption through debit cards, online payments and retail implementation
  • The Litecoin community continues to be loyal and vibrant. It is also famous for inside jokes such as Litecoin’s common nickname of chikun
Market Performance and other Important facts about LTC

The research paper went on to analyze LTC’s recent market performance and stated the following:

  • Litecoin is referred to as the ‘digital silver’ to Bitcoin’s ‘gold’. It was meant to complement BTC. The research paper also goes on to observe that the ratio between BTC and LTC is rather similar to that of Silver and Gold
  • Litecoin has a much larger number of daily active addresses (DAU) with respect to its market
    cap than all the other currencies considered except Dash
  • Litecoin has a large relative daily transaction volume than any other currency, suggesting that it is very much active and established more than its price reflects
  • Litecoin has experienced a very significant correction by falling over 80% to its current price

The research paper by Mati Greenspan went on to conclude that LTC has been oversold and its current price is massively discounted to what it should be worth:

Given that Litecoin has an established and stable working product, as well as significant adoption, this bear market of the whole cryptocurrency industry could have lead to Litecoin being oversold.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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Newly Launched Bitcoin Optech Initiative Aims to Address BTC Scalability Issue

A team of Bitcoin (BTC) engineers has announced the launch of the Bitcoin Operations Technology Group (Bitcoin Optech) addressing the problem of Bitcoin’s scalability, according to their statement published July 20.

Bitcoin Optech is a non-profit organization backed by leading industry players like PayPal Board Member Wences Casares, executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Ltd John Pfeffer, and cryptocurrency research and development group Chaincode Labs.

At this stage, Bitcoin Optech focuses on “operational technical work, such as segwit usage, transaction batching, fee estimation and coin selection,” helping companies integrate the rapidly developing technology.

Working closely with engineers from companies using the Bitcoin network and open-source developers, Bitcoin Optech seeks to give the scalability problem full consideration by holding workshops for Bitcoin engineers, hosting an online forum for technical scaling issues, and producing a weekly newsletter.

One proposed solution to Bitcoin’s scalability issue — driven by the continuous growth of the network’s transaction numbers — is the Lightning Network (LN), a second layer payment option that allows transactions to occur off the blockchain.

A recent study suggesting that the Lightning Network is not as effective at routing payments as  was first believed was refuted by the LN co-founders and BTC developers, who noted that the Lightning Network is still in beta testing.

In mid-July, crypto payment gateway CoinGate launched a pilot program for 100 merchants to test transactions on a Bitcoin Lightning Network variant of their service.

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100 Merchants and CoinGate Join Forces To Test Lightning Network. LiveJasmin is one of them

A select group of entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to implement online payment transaction via the Lightning Network thanks to a commercial agreement with payment processing startup CoinGate.

According to information disclosed exclusively to Coindesk, CoinGate guarantees the security of the testers’ funds in case of any problems with the processing of transactions.

This implementation has been criticized by several experts who assure that since it is not yet ready, its daily use is not advisable. Others have even criticized Lightning Network as contrary to the original Bitcoin philosophy.

However, CoinGate CTO Rytis Bieliauskas is a firm believer in the potential of this technology as a second layer technology. In statements to the media It is easy to notice that according to his business vision Lightning Network has excellent potential to benefit the world of financial transactions, and is worth the risk to build a better future:

“It’s a very new technology. Inevitably there will be some bugs, either in our implementation or in the Lightning Network. It will help, not just us, but the whole community because the bugs we find might help the whole protocol.”

Community interaction is of great importance for these types of projects. The Lighting Network protocol temporarily allows a maximum limit of transactions valued at 0.042 bitcoin or 300$.

The limit in the value of the transaction was established in order to avoid significant losses of money in case the public takes the Testing as a real implementation, losing money resources.

In the case of CoinGate, this risk is assumed by them. Besides, the process of changing from crypto to fiat also runs through the company.

LiveJasmin, one of the biggest adult sites in the world, will soon accept LN payments

In this way, several important entrepreneurs have been encouraged to try this implementation. One of the most famous is the famous adult website LiveJasmin.

LiveJasmin is one of the most renowned streaming platforms in the adult entertainment world. Speaking to Coindesk, Tamás Szerencse, head of payments at LiveJasmin explained that the company is quite optimistic about the use of cryptocurrencies and how the alliance with CoinGate has helped them to achieve one of their goals:

“Instant payments are the most important from our point of view,”

The development of Lightning Network has not stopped, every day there are more and better implementations. An example of this can be the new wallets, exchanges, and cryptocurrencies that accept this protocol.

There is not an actual release date for a final version of LN but its progress can be tracked on its offical website

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