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The Lightning Network Alpha Release is Ready for Testing

The Lightning Network Alpha Release is Ready for Testing


A recent blog post by developers of the Lightning Network, has announced an alpha release of the protocol’s daemon. The release called v0.1-alpha of the Lightning Network is said to be a milestone that enables the platform to be publicly tested by developers.


The Lightning Network is Now Available for Testing

1382098_1492148127716197_1521378370179647637_nWith roughly fifteen developers contributing to the v0.1-alpha Lightning release, the codebase is now available via the team’s Github repo. According to the team’s blog post, the daemon is a “full implementation of Lightning” with various capabilities.

This includes opening and closing channels, channel states, and onion-encrypted payments amongst the protocol’s features. The announcement gives a brief explanation of Lightning’s capabilities and how it was designed.

“The entirety of the ‘lnd’ codebase has been built from scratch using Go, a new systems programming language that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software,” details the Lightning Network developers. “We chose Go due to its first-class language-level support for concurrency, expansive standard library, memory safety, and simple language design. The last point holds significance as we’ve developed the codebase for ‘lnd’ with readability in mind above all.”


Lightning’s Relationship with Segregated Witness

SegWit-640x364
Segregated Witness

The Lightning Network is a protocol designed to speed up transactions and help bitcoin’s technical limitations in regards to scaling. Currently, the bitcoin network can only process less than ten transactions a second, as opposed to thousands traditional payment processors handle today.

The off-chain protocol is based on payment channels and multi-signature technology which could theoretically speed up transactions to near instantaneous time frames. With a little help from Segregated Witness (Segwit), the Lightning developers say they can “deploy the most efficient, flexible, and safe channel design.”

The latest release of Lightning is meant for developer experimentation and currently supports programming languages such as C++, Java, Python, Go, and more. Furthermore, individual payment channels designed with a series of interconnected links is made possible by utilizing the Segwit framework. The blog post continuously notes the importance of Segwit by detailing the positives for using the code and negatives of Lightning not utilizing the implementation.


End to End Encryption and Onion-Routed Micropayments

Another aspect of Lightning that people may enjoy is the implementation of onion-routed payments and end-to-end encryption between nodes. The blog post states the protocol uses a method called Hash-Time-Locked-Contract (HTLC) to deploy private micropayments. The developers detail with this feature “privacy is the default, as it should be.”

Additionally Lightning will enable peer-to-peer encrypted communication applying what’s called a modern cryptographic messaging transport. Within this type of messaging no information can be seen between Lightning nodes, says the development team.

The Lightning project has received criticism for how well it handled privacy in the past. More recently, bitcoin security expert Kristov Atlas wrote an article called “The Inevitability of Privacy in Lightning Networks,” discussing the subject of privacy with the Lightning Network.

Contributors of the latest alpha release of Lightning include developers such as Joseph Poon, Olaoluwa Osuntokun (roasbeef), Christopher Jämthagen, and more. The development team details they look forward to working with more programmers building with this software.

“We look forward to engaging new developers as they tinker with ‘lnd’ to create novel Layer-2 applications on top of the Lightning Network and also get a feel for what’s possible with this new technology,” adds the Lightning team.


What do you think about the alpha release of the Lightning Network? Let us know in the comments below.


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