The popularity and commercial use of Bitcoin Lightning Network has increased at a very accelerated pace during the last few months. The reason is the improvement of the network day by day and increasing convenient and secure way of the transaction between consumers through this network. Being a peer-to-peer connection, this network gives features that even if two consumers are not directly connected to each other through a channel, any consumer on the network can do the transaction with another consumer on the network.
Let us have a glance on 15 new additions in Bitcoin Lightning Network in the last few months and also what could be the new features to come:
1. Fast payment:
Now, the payment done on the lightning network is so paced and frequent. You can compare this speed of payments with the speed at which data is transferred on the internet between connections. This has reduced the scalability problem of bitcoin for surety. No. of payments per second in the network has been increased considerably.
2. No restriction in the duration of the open network:
There is no any type of timeout kind of thing between the lightning network. That means that if both consumers wishes, the channel between them would be open for an indefinite time. Their channel will not be closed after a time and hence cost and time required to closing and restarting the channel has been minimized.
3. The enforcement of third-party for security:
Earlier, if in a channel, one consumer who wanted to steal money, closes channel; the second consumer has to report within a given time period to prevent the theft. The network is now planning to enforce third-part which wouldn’t be given any control over transactions but only performing the above function.
4. More secure routing in the network:
Unlike normal routing, in this network, a peer has only information of the previous peer and the next peer. A peer doesn’t have the knowledge of the originating and destination peer of the network in Bitcoin Lightning Network. Thus, making it a more secure mode of payments and fund transfers.
5. Support more kind of payments:
Bitcoin Lightning Network now supports more kind of frequent payments, thus, there are only a few loads on Blockchain payment channel. Now, blockchain payment has only to take care of payments like closing and opening of channels of payments. Thus reducing extra overheads from the blockchain channel.
6. Functionality to close channel whenever desired:
Unlike regular connection, where there is a fixed timeout to close the channel, in this network, now two parties if agreed to each other can cancel the channel whenever they want. So, they don’t have to wait for unwanted time to close the channel even if the fund transfer is completed, they can close it immediately after mutual agreement.
7. Payment without invoice:
With this new feature, payment can be funded from one consumer to other without creating the invoice for the payment first. This new feature creates a fast streaming payment of funds. Now, the need of creating an invoice ahead of the transfer of fund which makes the fund transfer slower is non-relevant.
8. The functionality of single-funded channel:
Suppose a consumer wants to pay second consumer and the payment is uni-directional, then there is no need of another consumer to add fund in the channel and just a single-funded channel can be created with only first consumer participating and adding fund in the channel.
9. Payments across different blockchains:
Now, the lightning network allows payments across various different routes of blockchain provided they have same hash locking. Hence, the payment can be done from one channel of blockchain to channels of another blockchain only if they have the same hash code and locking.
10. No trust with third-party institutions:
The channel is completely shared between two consumers and no other third party has any access over the funds during the process of the transaction. This gives more security and safety to the fund transfer process done in bitcoin lightning network channel.
11. Provision of conditional payment:
Depending upon the result of some payment, now a probabilistic model of payment can be performed. This feature is known as sub-satoshi kind of payment. For example, A created a 1-satoshi kind of payment and pay B 0.3 satoshi with an odd of 10-to-3. This means that 70% of the time, A pays him 0 satoshis whereas 30% of the time, A pays 0.3 satoshis.
12. Less transaction fee:
Bitcoin is aiming to capitalize on small stores also. Hence, this network would cost a very little transaction fee, perhaps the least for any kind of transaction of funds. Hence, it could be used for daily purposed also like paying for restaurants, stores etc.
13. More Anonymity:
It will be impossible to track the payments completed through lightning channel network as a major part of these transactions take place completely isolated of the main channel of the blockchain.
14. Bi-directional fund channel:
For the very first time after the evolution of bitcoin, the funding has now become of two-sides. The lightning channel of bitcoin supports bi-directional fund channel.
15. Decentralized network:
Early testing of the bitcoin lightning network depicts that it is possible to have a decentralized network above the layer of blockchain transaction resulting to transfer funds from one peer to another peer even in multiple hops.
However, there are various still shortcomings. Bitcoin is aiming for various changes and upgrade in its technology to provide a more convenient and secure channel above the layer of the payment channel of the blockchain, thus increasing the scalability of the bitcoin payment. Let us also a brief glance at some upcoming features that the lightning network aims at:
1. Evolution of hubs like nodes:
A node similar to a hub in a network which would finally collect more than one payments of one or more peers would make a strong centralized network.
2. Reduce the complexity of the channel:
In the present time, the channel is very complexed. Several attempts are made by the bitcoin to make it a little bit simpler.