Thunder, a project by Blockchain.info, is a collection of alternate nodes that allow users to make bitcoin payments off-chain in seconds, and sync with the standard Bitcoin network later. Unlike traditional payments made with bitcoin that can take up to an hour for a healthy number of confirmations, transactions made on the Thunder network are said to be ideal for quick payments and could lead to an increase of use for businesses that deal primarily in face-to-face transactions with their customers.
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Thunder has, according to tests by Blockchain.info, creates a system that will allow for very cheap payments with fees developed by the free market that will be “fundamentally lower than on-chain payments.” All transactions on the Thunder network are encrypted and take place only after authentication, which protects all parties involved with each transaction. Furthermore, payments made on the network are irreversible once they are seen by both parties while being instant in nature.
An off-chain network like this opens up increased utility of the blockchain and could pave the way for further innovation of the technology to create a widely used system of instant, trustless payments between