31 thoughts on “A Flash of Insights on Lightning Network

  1. gizram84 March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    Great article.

    However, in reality, [Satoshi described the concept very early on, in an email to Mike Hearn](https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2013-April/002417.html):

    > One use of nLockTime is high frequency trades between a set of parties. They can keep updating a tx by unanimous agreement. The party giving money would be the first to sign the next version. If one party stops agreeing to changes, then the last state will be recorded at nLockTime. If desired, a default transaction can be prepared after each version so n-1 parties can push an unresponsive party out. Intermediate transactions do not need to be broadcast. Only the final outcome gets recorded by the network.

  2. ancap100 March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    This article contains some original and clearly expressed thoughts and some speculation about the promising future for LN. Although a lot of it is just speculative, the fact that it is written by one of the bitcoin’s seminal thinkers and is supported by some understandable back-of-the-envelope calculations make it well-worth reading even if you think you already know a lot about the Lightning Network.

  3. zluckdog March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    I just want to be able to use LN payments from my phone.

  4. MeniRosenfeld March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    tl;dr: LN can work; it is fast and cheap; hubs are not strictly necessary and even if used, are nothing like banks; the future is bright.

  5. descartablet March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    u/MeniRosenfeld You mentioned that the LN node must be online to receive payments.

    Do you think that we will have our nodes in our cellphones?

    what about having a backup LN node hosted by a Coinbase-like “bank” just in case we are out of coverage and somebody wants to pay us?

  6. cpgilliard78 March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    This is a really great summary, but a couple things that seem to missed:

    1.) On privacy: the author doesn’t seem to be aware that the LN is onion routed (this is not an option, but mandatory) so even the “hubs” you are connected to will not know who you are paying. So the picture is actually even better.

    2.) On the 1 cent per txn calculation average: There are reasons to believe that the actual number will be less than this. One of the important reasons why is that the large bitcoin holders will have reason to subsidize the cost of the LN. The value of the system is greatly improved for all and for them by having sub 1 cent txns. They also have the bitcoin available to lock into the channels. Also, I think that 4 million hubs with 4 thousand channels is overkill. With hub counts in the hundreds of thousands (perhaps even less?) and channel counts in the hundreds, we’d still be able to have sufficient decentralization and the cost of operating would be dramatically lower. Currently, there is a maximum channel size limit of ~ 0.12 btc, but I think it makes sense to raise this limit so that the backbone hubs can have large connections between themselves. Whether this is needed or not will become more clear as the LN scales.

    But other than those two nits, this was a very valuable article. Maybe it starts the discussion of how the LN hub topology will be laid out.

  7. BiggPea March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    > 1. They have no set expiration date. Instead they use the primitive of CheckSequenceVerify to create a differential grace period, for security purposes. But as long as the two parties cooperate, the channel can exist indefinitely.

    Has a relative nLockTime Opcode been added to the protocol? Sorry if this is a dumb question–I’ve been away from the space for a bit.

  8. coin_flipper March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    I think that with enough patience you can open more than 4000 channels to other hubs without paying that $4000. If you are to run a hub business you can just choose to pay the minimum safe Satoshi/byte price and maybe wait for a few days, sacrificing time for cash. 10cent tx might be going through eventually.


  9. maxxad March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    If I as a merchant want to get payed in bitcoin over the lightning network I have to open a channel to someone and that someone need to lock up the funds I might recieve.

    Am I correct?

  10. business2690 March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    lightning is damn complex. If they do not smartly hide all this complexity from the end user it won’t be adopted. E.O.S.

  11. treeswhileiskis March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    How long before I can buy breakfast with btc?

    Seriously. I’m really hungry and all my money is in bitcoin….

  12. francohab March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    What is the incentive to run a LN node?

  13. PhTmos March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    Thanks for writing this, and generally for still being around and engaging, Meni.

  14. ecurrencyhodler March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    >I invented the Lightning Network.


  15. baikydog March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    How does LN work if I want to use my phone to send and receive payments?

  16. bitcoincash4eva March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    This is the best article I’ve seen in the last 3 years in this space.

  17. TotesMessenger March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    I’m a bot, *bleep*, *bloop*. Someone has linked to this thread from another place on reddit:

    – [/r/btc] [A Flash of Insights on Lightning Network by Meni Rosenfeld. Good read for Bitcoin (BCH) supporters too.](https://www.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/84aktp/a_flash_of_insights_on_lightning_network_by_meni/)

    – [/r/u_miketampa69] [Lighting Network](https://www.reddit.com/r/u_MikeTampa69/comments/84881t/lighting_network/)

     *^(If you follow any of the above links, please respect the rules of reddit and don’t vote in the other threads.) ^([Info](/r/TotesMessenger) ^/ ^[Contact](/message/compose?to=/r/TotesMessenger))*

  18. destinationexmo March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    Great article! I know I will get down voted for my next comment, but can’t we at least start talking about a block size increase on a roadmap? Or are there still arguments against this articles assumption it will be necessary? (although technically it is less necessary to increase it now than it was before (segwit, Schnorr coming, etc), but socially it might still be a good idea as BCH idiots use this as their go to argument to scam millions of people) segwit2x doesn’t seem so bad after all after reading this article. I can’t help but feel there was a little ego/denial involved in being so anti segwit2x anymore, but perhaps at the time these details weren’t understood well enough to take the risk of an increase? I feel like all the progress that has been made recently is starting to head in a blocksize increase inevitably like this article suggests. I feel like I’d rather have Core implement bigger block sizes (hell they could be dynamic based on the LN?) before BCH implement LN and then shills even harder. I can totally see this article slapping realization to the faces of BCH devs and causing them to implement LN and then promote some sort of “we have the perfect blocksize/LN endgame protocol!”

    EDIT: yup here come the down votes. It is pathetically sad that just mentioning blocksize increase = insta downvotes. Unless it is the BCH brigade auto down voting /r/bitcoin threads I can’t explain it?

  19. ModerateStockTrader March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    Good article. I’m interested in how LN stacks up to ETH’s off-chain scaling solution and the whole space, really. I guess this means that I will have to stay tuned to find out!

  20. autotldr March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    This is the best tl;dr I could make, [original](https://medium.com/@menirosenfeld/a-flash-of-insights-on-lightning-network-338aea52e2bc) reduced by 97%. (I’m a bot)
    > The ability to use an on-chain transaction to anchor a channel, so that real bitcoins can be sent over it without having to bother the entire network or wait for confirmations for every payment?-?in such a way that the channel can always be closed unilaterally to recover the funds as normal bitcoins sitting in an address you control?-?is an idea so powerful that I can't imagine how can anyone resist falling in love with it.

    > Going back to the overall network structure, the balance of channels between hubs also needs to be considered.

    > There is no need to fear the occasional distant peer?-?if a user needs to send payment to someone on the other side of the network, he can simply spend an on-chain tx to open up a new channel, and have easier access to this remote part of the network for future payments.

    [**Extended Summary**](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/846qyt/a_flash_of_insights_on_lightning_network/) | [FAQ](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/31b9fm/faq_autotldr_bot/ “Version 2.00, ~295309 tl;drs so far.”) | [Feedback](http://np.reddit.com/message/compose?to=%23autotldr “PM’s and comments are monitored, constructive feedback is welcome.”) | *Top* *keywords*: **channel**^#1 **payment**^#2 **hub**^#3 **network**^#4 **cost**^#5

  21. xvsOPxDwUw March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    Lolz it won’t work. Keep hyping it though. Maybe some genius will come out of the woodwork and prove everyone wrong.

  22. DushmanKush March 14, 2018 / 7:04 am

    Nice, LN only a few years away. 😀

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