Scalability of the bitcoin network has been a topic of substantial debate for far too long now. The Lightning Network has been tapped as a solution to this problem, despite facing a lot of criticism. Acinq, a French company exploring this technology, created their own spin-off, called Eclair.
On paper, Eclair looks very similar to the proposal BitFury presented in their 2015 whitepaper. Thanks to a strong focus on handling payments in a privacy-centric manner, the Lightning Network remains one of the more sophisticated approaches to solving Bitcoin scalability.
Eclair Is A Stepping Stone Towards The Lightning Network
Moreover, the way nodes handle information is rather unique as well. Despite nodes only able to see a portion of the larger network, they can still figure out a way to send payments. In a way, it provides the system with enough information to move forward, without knowing everything that has gone on with all other transactions in the world.
Acinq has put this concept to the test by setting up various network nodes in the cloud. A thorough period of research indicated these nodes could easily communicate with one another, while also finding routes between random nodes. However, Eclair uses a simplified version of the routing process, which works a lot faster. To put this into perspective, all payment paths had an 80% success rate in just half a second.
While this test sounds like a potential solution for the lingering scalability, it is not ready for implementation yet. As was to be expected, the development of this network is one thing, but using it on a larger scale will require more time. There are still a fair few challenges that lie ahead, including a dynamic ranking of payment routes. For now, Eclair has only been tested with static routes. Given the fact the Bitcoin network is constantly changing and evolving, dynamic solutions are an absolute must.
For those people who got their hopes up based on this test: a positive attitude is certainly good, but we are not there yet. This test was just another step towards achieving the Lightning Network BitFury proposed a while ago. Many paths are leading to this road, and all pieces of the puzzle need to be put in the right order. Moreover, encrypted communication between nodes has not even begun yet. All of this is a glimpse of what may be possible one day, but until then, scalability will remain a problem for Bitcoin.
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