Features Of Bitcoin Lightning Mainnet Beta, & What Next?

Updated On Mar 16, 2018 by Cameron Bishop

Lightning Labs, which is one of the companies involved in the creation of “lightning network, released the first lightning mainnet beta and the fourth version of “Ind” (Ind-0.4 beta) protocol (software infrastructure). The release is intended for developers of future Lightning applications (Lapps) along with technical users and prospective routing node operators. It is also the first release of lnd, with option to run on Bitcoin’s mainnet. The release offers safety, security, and reliability features necessary for real-world, real money usage.

The developers have stated that they are focused on providing the software infrastructure (such as lnd!) necessary to bootstrap the network and serve as a platform for future applications, services, and businesses.
Furthermore, Lightning Labs has cautioned users to test with only small amounts as this is the first mainnet release of lnd.

Features of mainnet beta

• Bitcoinind support
• New seed format, deterministic keys – easier to backup lnd nodes and also makes recovery from data loss or corruption simpler and more reliable.
• Improved fault-tolerance – secure and stable in the event of power failures, network failures, hardware failures, or other unexpected or adversarial conditions.
• Smarter path finding – the protocol introduces improved management for constructing payment routes.
• Automated contract resolution – sweeping funds back into a user’s wallet is now handled by a concert of subsystems. The process is automatic and fault-tolerant.
• SegWit only – removed support for now-obsolete P2PKH addresses, favoring both native Segwit and P2SH. Transactions will cost less and network will remain strong.
• Routing node metrics – provides tools to track fees and payments at high volume.

The developers have stated that previous lnd mainnet installations are not compatible with the beta. As a result, users will need to upgrade using a completely fresh installation or remove their existing channel.db database file before upgrading.

What next?

In the future, Lightning Labs plans to create a number of key infrastructure components that will contribute to the instant, user-friendly experience Lightning can bring to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
• Watchtower and backups – will provide maximum safety for the funds of Lightning users. “watchtowers” will monitor the blockchain for invalid channel transactions.
• Atomic Multipath Payments (AMP) – will allow large Lightning transactions to be divided into a series of smaller transactions as they’re sent over the Lightning Network, but in such a way that they’re automatically joined back together.
• Desktop and mobile apps – developers will update alpha Lightning App to be compatible with lnd-0.4 beta over the coming weeks, and will follow with mobile versions as well.
• Routing node tools and guides – will include tools that will help routing node operators optimize revenue, maximize uptime, and manage capital.
• Next-generation Autopilot and Mission Control – autopilot (peer finding) and Mission Control (routing) heuristics will be further optimized to provide a more reliable, faster user experience.
• Cross-chain atomic swaps – enables instant, trustless exchange of assets residing on separate blockchains such as Bitcoin and Litecoin, without the systemic risk introduced by custodial exchanges.

To sum up, the mainnet lightning beta offers deeper cross-implementation compatibility, a new specialized wallet seed, comprehensive fault-tolerance logic, a multitude of bug fixes, and much more. The release of lightning mainnet beta is another step towards making Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies simpler, faster, safer, and more ubiquitous.

Cameron works tirelessly behind the scenes ensuring his many US news stories are factual, informative and brought to you in a timely fashion before most other media outlets have them. He is an investigative journalist at heart who also has a fond interest in the money and business markets too.

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