The new update to the Thunder protocol announced by is expected to provide quicker bitcoin refunds and a protection against dodgy transactions.

Released in alpha by the bitcoin wallet provider in May 2016, the Thunder protocol is claimed to be the first realisation of the bitcoin Lightning network. A new update announced in the cоmpany blog takes care of bitcoin refunds in Thunder.

The protocol used a “dual-layer” approach to transactions, meaning there is a “second layer between broadcasting the settlement and claiming a payment which allows us to clearly separate the process of claiming a payment from waiting out the revocation delay.” To redeem a payment, the second transaction should be broadcasted, allowing the initial sender to claim the bitcoins after a revocation delay. The system is expected to protect users from cheating counterparties.

To complete a transaction, both users need to be online. In the previous version, this caused lengthy delays: if a Thunder user wanted their bitcoins back and one of the parties was offline for as long as two weeks, it might have meant a year-long delay. The new solution provides a one-day payment window with a two-week revocation delay.

Mats Jerratsch, a Thunder developer, invites everyone to test the new version of the code:

“Though I hope this code will never need to be used because we won’t have to worry about cheating counterparties, we’ve done rigorous unit testing in thunder to cover all the cases of payments, and to also make sure the bitcoin scripts actually work. That said, despite our best efforts, a code that isn’t battle-tested is hard to perfect so I welcome your exploration of the code and your thoughts and reviews!”

The Thunder solution is intended to relieve the pressure on the bitcoin blockchain by taking a lot of transactions off the chain. If fully implemented, it is said to allow 100,000 transactions per second. However, a long testing period is underway and the beta phase is still far ahead.

The Lightning network has been seen by many bitcoiners as something contrary to the spirit of bitcoin. It was accused of introducing a third party where there is no need for one and aimed at taking control of the bitcoin network. Indeed, the very expression “bitcoin refund” sounds strange to the ears of die-hard bitcoiners, as evidenced by the reaction to the new update on Reddit.

“Bitcoin and Refund - you must either be kidding or it must be SCAM. Refund in bitcoin goes against the core principles of protocol and goes against the rules of the game.” (unconfirmedbtc)

“People have no clue how much CC companies make on charge-backs, they won’t give up that golden goose easily. So nice to see every bit of "progress" in bitcoin is writing in our legacy systems biggest problems; bitcoin "developers" too petrified to do anything different that the old shitty methods of commerce. I really have no idea how they are going to secure all these side chains when the underlying network confidence and security is a joke.” (DaSpawn)


Alexey Tereshchenko