As last week’s Scaling Bitcoin workshops came to an end and its attendees returned home, the main task for 12 of Bitcoin’s prominent lightning network developers was really just starting. Last Monday and Tuesday, representatives from ACINQ, Amiko Pay, BitFury, Blockstream, Lightning Labs and Purse gathered on the third story of a working space in the center of Milan. Sitting around a table filled with humming laptops and emptied out pizza boxes, the world’s first “lightning network summit” took place.
The specific task at hand was to establish interoperability between the different implementations of what is perhaps the most highly anticipated technology to be rolled out on the Bitcoin blockchain in the near future.
The Lightning Network
The lightning network was first proposed by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus “Tadge” Dryja well over a year ago. Utilizing Bitcoin’s basic programmable features — like multisig and time-locks — users can establish networked payment channels on top of Bitcoin, creating in effect an off-blockchain transaction layer leveraging Bitcoin’s security. This should allow for a near-infinite amount of trustless, instant and low-cost transactions with little added burden on the Bitcoin network and its users.