Author Topic: Can the Lightning Network Scale Bitcoin Sustainably?  (Read 3530 times)

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Travis Patron

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Can the Lightning Network Scale Bitcoin Sustainably?
« on: October 28, 2015, 02:22:15 PM »

The bitcoin lightning network is an off-chain payment channel that has the potential to provide instant, high-volume micropayments while removing the risk of delegating custody of funds to trusted third parties.

Could the lightning network technology offer a sustainable way to scale the main bitcoin blockchain?

Recently, we had the chance to ask one of the inventors, Joseph Poon, a few questions surrounding this new technology and how they are planning to use the lightning network to benefit bitcoin users.

Do you think the lightning network required serious consideration?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 02:24:07 PM by Travis Patron »


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Re: Can the Lightning Network Scale Bitcoin Sustainably?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2015, 02:31:58 PM »
Joseph Poon:

The current challenges are related to getting in the soft-forks necessary to make it successful. There are several soft-forks necessary in the near-term, and some longer-term.
OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY has been merged into bitcoin-core, which means that it will be in bitcoin within several months, which can be used by Lightning (among other projects which need it). OP_CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY and a relative locktime nSequence soft-fork are also necessary to let one create channels which can last an indefinite amount of time. Longer-term itís ideal for wallet security to have a SIGHASH_NORMALIZED or SIGHASH_NOINPUT flag which allows one to sign transactions which have not been created yet, this allows for one to outsource the security of watching the blockchain. Additionally, it may be necessary longer-term to have a timestop function for blockchain denial service attacks.
Until that time, the Lightning Network should be used primarily for micropayments and smaller amounts to minimize risk.

I think thereís lots of promise for technological development of Bitcoin as the core basis for money. Bitcoin created the basis for money, and by having an electronic cash system, we need to build the rest of the financial infrastructure as a result. However, by having this monetary base, technologies like Lightning Network can rest atop this base and build out the future of finance.

In other words, it appears to me that LN cannot be relied on to resolve scalability concerns in the near-term (next 1 year). Thus, block size increase may be the only way to deal with near-term scalability.