Blockchain, the company behind the world’s most popular bitcoin wallet, has been quietly working on an interesting project called Thunder. The Thunder network is an alternative network of nodes that lets you make off-chain bitcoin payments in seconds and settle back to the bitcoin blockchain every now and then. And it makes me excited about bitcoin all over again.
This sounds complicated but it’s quite neat and could be a powerful innovation for bitcoin transactions. But first, let’s take a step back.
If you’ve ever tried sending a couple of bitcoins from one wallet to another, you know it can take ten or twenty minutes before the blockchain confirms the transaction.
The reason behind this is that the blockchain is a network of servers that share the same record of transactions. When you send two bitcoins, all the nodes in the blockchain are going to write a line with this transaction so that everyone can confirm that the originating wallet has lost two bitcoins and the destination wallet now has two extra bitcoins.
This is great, and this is what makes bitcoin completely decentralized. But it’s also slow, hard to