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Jumpstarting the Lightning Network for All

September 10, 2018


Even though the Lightning network is supposed to be the answer to lagging transaction speeds across the Cryptocurrency space, as of now, it has only been connected to a few Cryptocurrencies, which for the most part means Bitcoin and Litecoin.


Despite the fact that you may already be familiar with this fact, what you might not know is that you reportedly cannot directly send funds from a Lightning wallet address to a traditional Bitcoin wallet address.


According to Coindesk, this does not mean that doing so is impossible, but that it requires a sort of workaround step that equates to transferring Lightning funds to a Bitcoin wallet, while proving you are the owner of both at the same time.


As Coindesk states, it can, in fact, reasonably be said that this seems contrary to the Lightning Network’s ambitions of being the bridge to true scale for each and every Cryptocurrency network.


Given the fact that this is true, it is logical to wonder: what are developers doing, if anything, to change this?


According to the same previously mentioned piece, the current, popular solution to this issue was inspired by a technology that already exists called atomic swaps.


To recap, the idea of atomic swaps basically refers to smart contracts that allow parties to exchange from one Cryptocurrency to another, without the involvement of any other party.


Because this is true, this means that such a technology should make direct Crypto exchange websites like Shapeshift obsolete. The fact is, this has not yet happened.


If Coindesk’s article is taken as true in connection with the relative distribution of market share, then the reason for this could be that certain Blockchain networks do not want exchanges to be fee less.


Ethereum would be the chief case of a network that has everything to lose if this happens. The network depends on gas fees being paid by every user for every sort of transaction. If atomic swaps become the industry norm, then Ethereum’s strong hold on the niche of being a Dapp platform could plummet, though as of now, this is mainly speculation.


On the other hand, in the case of the Lightning network, this has already come to pass.


 The only problem is the user base of the Lightning network is minuscule compared to that of the top Blockchain networks and as mentioned above, it only currently supports a few of the top Cryptocurrencies.


The same article by Coindesk states that the current, inspired solution for the Lightning Network’s woes related to scale is something which can be termed, “submarine swaps.”


In short, this is a technical feature that enables users to directly send Bitcoin to the Lightning Network to make payments. However, at this time, there is no reverse send feature as well as no support for other Cryptocurrencies.


Because of this, just like most of the other announcements about the Lightning Network, this is nothing monumental yet. Almost everything that Lightning developers are working on is in a testnet phase. In the end, it can be concluded that only once user numbers reach a level to rival one of the top Cryptocurrencies, then it could be said that we could start talking about the Lightning Network as the industry’s savior.


In the end, if you want to see how it works for yourself, follow this direct link, but be warned, the tech behind “submarine swaps” is still very much in its early, debugging stages.



By: BGN Editorial Staff


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