The Lightning Network Daemon v0.1 alpha has been released for public testing. It uses SegWit implementation for increased efficiency.

The latest version of the Lightning Network is able to open and close channels with peers, handle all cooperative and non-cooperative channel states, maintain an authenticated and validated channel graph, passively forward incoming payments, send outgoing TOR-encrypted payments and so on.

The Lightning Network is a protocol designed to solve the bitcoin scalability problem. It allows users to send micropayments through separate channels bypassing the main blockchain. The method is supposed to make operations with the cryptocurrency simpler, faster and cheaper, speeding up transactions to mere seconds and taking the load off the main network. Transaction information is recorded in the bitcoin blockchain once any of the participants withdraws the funds from the Lightning Network channel.

The solution was built with the help of Go – a new programming language.

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to dive into the code either just to learn about the Lightning Network protocol at a deeper level, or to start contributing pull requests to the project,” the official Lightning Network team’s statement reads.

The latest version of the client makes use of the Segregated Witness implemented with the Bitcoin Core version 0.13.1.

“Although alternative less-ideal channel constructions are possible without segwit, by utilizing segwit we’re able to deploy the most efficient, flexible, and safe channel design. Additionally, the script upgrade capabilities created by segwit provide a path for upgrades to Bitcoin that will improve the privacy and efficiency of Lightning.”

The improvements include, among other features, Elliptic-Curve Schnorr Signatures and offer more secure end-to-end transactions by randomising the payment hash along the route in the Lightning Network.

The devs team including 13 cryptographers calls for cooperation and seeks to engage new specialists for creating the Layer-2 application on top of the Lightning Network.

In October 2016, the developers tested the Lightning Network prototype v0.5 by selling each other an ASCII picture of a cat.

Elena Platonova