Lightning Labs published a blog post on its official blog yesterday announcing the launch of the beta version of Lightning Network Daemon (LND), the first stable software to use Lightning Network in the main network of Bitcoin and Litecoin. This means that now all the people who use these cryptocurrencies can execute much faster and cheaper transactions outside of the blockchain.
LND is the first software of its kind to reach the beta version, even though there is other similar software being developed, designed to be compatible with each other. Lightning Network Daemon is the most mature one in this category at the moment. Lightning Network is a network for micropayments outside of the blockchain that uses channels to exchange funds directly between users. Until now, it has only been used in the Bitcoin test network.
Elizabeth Stark, the CEO of Lightning Labs said: “”The community engagement around Lightning has been amazing. The protocol will always be open source and right now everything we are making will be open source.”
In this beta version there is a limit of 400 US dollars for individual payments and 1,400 dollars per payment channel. These limitations should be sufficient at the beginning when the software would be used primarily by developers and advanced users. The developers do not recommend the users to manage the funds they are not prepared to lose, since this piece of software is the first one to use Lightning Network and, despite being secure enough to be used in the Bitcoin main network, it is still a beta version that probably has some bugs and errors.
In this sense, Elizabeth Stark said: “We were not recommending use on the main bitcoin network before this beta because there are certain features, such as a wallet seed backup, that were not there previously. There are new features included as well, there are bug fixes and stability improvements.”
This beta version of LND includes a group of new characteristics, such as the support for Bitcoin Core and if the users prefer to the bitcoind client instead of btcd they are able to do so. The security of the users’ funds has also been improved because the network has been made more stable in case of unexpected events and adverse conditions, such as power outages or hardware malfunction. The P2PKH addresses have been removed, while native support for SegWit (Segregated Witness) and P2SH is now favored.
It is worth mentioning that since this version contains a series of important changes, the previous versions of LND are not compatible with this beta version and that is why the users should update their software by reinstalling it completely or by removing its database channel.db before updating to the latest beta version.
Likewise, the team from Lightning Labs said they were working on a series of applications and future characteristics. The so-called Watchtowers present one of the new features. Their goal is to supervise the Lightning network in search for invalid transactions. The team also announced it would update its app called Alpha Lightning in the next weeks in order to make the beta version of LND compatible with mobile devices. Moreover, Atomic Swaps will be implemented in the transactions, which means it will be possible to exchange assets that reside in different blockchains. For example, it will be possible to exchange assets between the blockchain networks of Bitcoin and Litecoin.