Over the past few months, I have been exploring the lightning network. It is a network that is built on the bitcoin network as a “second layer”. I would fail to explain lightning network since I’ve barely started on the long road of understanding it myself, but the briefest summary that captures the idea for me is that it is a routed payment channels network. I’ll leave it to others with good-er writing clarity to describe it clearly.
Unlike traditional on-chain bitcoin transactions, lightning network transactions delivers on the original promises of bitcoin: instant, irreversible, trustless, and cheap payments to and from anyone (or anything) in the world.
Currently, I am operating a node on a spare laptop with this stack:
- Ubuntu - linux operating system
- Bitcoin Core - my verifying and fully archiving bitcoin node
- LND - my lightning node
For monitoring and using my node, I use the these tools:
- btc-rpc-explorer - bitcoin node dashboard
- zap-desktop - beautiful lightning wallet
- RTL (Ride the Lightning) - awesome lightning dashboard
Getting that node up and operational was simpler than I imagined. The quality of the software, documentation and the people building it is inspirational! I want to build a few more nodes that can serve as good routing peers to help the lightning network route transactions.
I am very excited for the future of this technology. It’s a amazing to be using and delving into a technology in it’s infancy with such huge potentials. I imagine this is how internet pioneers felt.
There are fantastic resources available to learn more about the lightning network, see Lightning Network Resources.