Jack Dorsey-Backed Spiral Plots Course for Mainstream Adoption of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network

Please fol­low and like us:
Pin Share

Bitcoin’s Light­ning Net­work may be inch­ing clos­er toward main­stream adop­tion, as LDKone of the main imple­men­ta­tions of the net­worksets forth on an ambi­tious new roadmap to improve func­tion­al­i­ty and acces­si­bil­i­ty for users.

Light­ning Devel­op­ment Kit, also known as LDK, is a project from Bit­coin open-source devel­op­ment enti­ty Spi­ral, which is fund­ed by Jack Dorsey’s Block. LDK plays a sig­nif­i­cant role on Bit­coin’s Light­ning Net­work, and the project’s team recent­ly show­cased tech improve­ments dur­ing a Twit­ter Spaces that they plan to work on over the next year.

It’s sig­nif­i­cant giv­en the belief among Bit­coin sup­port­ers that if any­thing takes Bit­coin main­stream, it’ll be the Light­ning Net­work, which makes pay­ments cheap­er, faster, and more scal­able. But though the Light­ning Net­work is func­tion­al, it’s rough around the edges and is not always easy for new users to send payments.

For one, there’s a dif­fer­ence between cus­to­di­al and non-cus­to­di­al mobile Light­ning wal­lets. Cus­to­di­al wal­lets require the user to trust the wal­let provider with the funds, while non-cus­to­di­al wal­lets give wal­lets sole con­trol over their own funds. 

“The Light­ning Net­work is a pret­ty good user expe­ri­ence today for cus­to­di­al Light­ning Net­work wal­lets. How­ev­er, there remain sub­stan­tial prob­lems with UX, pri­va­cy, and scal­ing for non-cus­to­di­al Light­ning wal­lets,” Spi­ral lead Steve Lee told Decrypt.

The LDK roadmap, com­piled of a num­ber of fea­tures, aims to tack­le this problem—with the goal of mak­ing the Light­ning Net­work more appeal­ing to main­stream users.

2023 Light­ning Devel­op­ment Kit. Source: LDK

Bitcoin UX improvements

LDK is dif­fer­ent from LND and C‑lightning, the most-used soft­ware imple­men­ta­tions of the Light­ning Net­work. The LDK team aims to be more mod­u­lar and flex­i­ble to make devel­op­ers’ lives eas­i­er when build­ing (par­tic­u­lar­ly mobile) Light­ning wal­lets and apps. And there are two fea­tures on the roadmap, in par­tic­u­lar, that are unique to LDK.

Though LDK isn’t a node per se, devel­op­ers can build cus­tom Light­ning nodes that suit their needs with it. But the free­dom LDK pro­vides is too intim­i­dat­ing for devel­op­ers who are new­er to build­ing on the net­work, Lee not­ed in the Twit­ter spaces. 

A key fea­ture on the roadmap is LDK Node Mobile, which offers an eas­i­er set-up for cre­at­ing a node. Nodes are a key piece of any Light­ning app. They con­nect the app to the rest of the net­work, allow­ing users to send and receive pay­ments. Instead of it tak­ing devel­op­ers days or weeks to build a node with LDK, Lee argues LDK Node will shrink down this time to hours. 

Anoth­er unique fea­ture LDK is work­ing on is what’s called “async pay­ments.” One of the irri­tat­ing prob­lems mobile users of Light­ning face is if they try to send a mobile pay­ment to a friend, the friend needs to be online to receive the pay­ment, oth­er­wise the pay­ment will fail. Hov­er­ing over a phone to wait for a pay­ment sort of defeats the pur­pose of Light­ning-speed pay­ments. Users don’t have to deal with this issue when send­ing a Ven­mo pay­ment, so why the need with Bitcoin?

Spi­ral devel­op­er and long-time Bit­coin con­trib­u­tor Matt Coral­lo released a pro­pos­al for dodg­ing this prob­lem in 2021. And as the LDK roadmap shows, putting async pay­ments into prac­tice is a chief focus for the LDK team over the next year.

Lightning’s decentralized future

Then there’s a slew of oth­er changes LDK devel­op­ers are work­ing on that will boost usabil­i­ty of the pay­ment sys­tem. If you’ve been fol­low­ing the whirl­wind of Bit­coin and Light­ning Net­work devel­op­ment, you might have heard of some of them, since oth­er imple­men­ta­tions are also adopt­ing these changes to make them more widespread.

LDK is work­ing on adopt­ing BOLT 12, a pro­pos­al for mak­ing it eas­i­er to invoice and accept Light­ning pay­ments. It’s a mish­mash of fea­tures with uncom­fort­ably tech­ni­cal names (like “onion mes­sages” and “blind­ed paths”). But the short of it is that BOLT 12 will allow for a bet­ter user expe­ri­ence where users can reuse Light­ning invoic­es to accept pay­ments. BOLT 12 also boosts pri­va­cy. With “blind­ed paths” a user can accept pay­ments with­out reveal­ing their iden­ti­ty. Nor­mal­ly, the sender knows the pub­lic key, which is the iden­ti­ty of the node they are send­ing a pay­ment to. But with blind­ed paths, this infor­ma­tion is shielded.

Anoth­er big win is com­ing sup­port for pri­va­cy fea­ture Tap­root. In 2021, Tap­root was Bit­coin’s largest upgrade in years. Slow­ly, the effects of Tap­root are rip­pling out to Bit­coin projects like Light­ning. Tap­root will shield Light­ning trans­ac­tions, giv­ing them invis­i­bil­i­ty so that they look exact­ly the same as nor­mal Bit­coin trans­ac­tions. If you look on a block explor­er to see all Bit­coin trans­ac­tions ever made, Light­ning trans­ac­tions usu­al­ly stand out, since they use a tech­nique called “mul­ti-sig.” This can typ­i­cal­ly be detect­ed since the data will look more com­pli­cat­ed than a nor­mal Bit­coin transaction.

That’s just scratch­ing the sur­face of the roadmap. “There is no doubt it is an ambi­tious roadmap,” Lee told Decrypt, not­ing that time esti­mates for devel­op­ment projects can be “tricky.” But it pro­vides an accu­rate win­dow into what Light­ning Net­work devel­op­ers will be work­ing on in the near-term.

Light­ning devel­op­ers have plen­ty of work ahead of them. Improve­ments to the net­work are as sprawl­ing as the net­work itself. But with every change they make a piece is put into place to trans­form Bit­coin into an eas­i­er to use pay­ment system.

Stay on top of crypto news, get daily updates in your inbox.

Source link

Please fol­low and like us:
Pin Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.