We are developing Lightning: an open protocol layer that leverages the power of blockchains and smart contracts to make cheap, fast, private transactions available to anyone around the world. User growth and application innovation in the blockchain ecosystem are driving the need for new protocol layers that build on the security and ubiquity of blockchains. Lightning is one of the first and most essential of these protocols, providing blockchains with the scalability to support magnitudes more users as well as the flexibility to support a new wave of financial applications.
The most advanced and most developer-friendly implementation of the Lightning Network protocol. lnd provides superior reliability, interoperability and security for the next generation of global-scale financial applications.
An open platform developed by Lightning Labs that enables users with mobile devices to conduct blockchain and Lightning Network transactions quickly and easily. Neutrino provides “light clients” with security and privacy that weren’t available with previous light client concepts.
The Lightning protocol is developed in the open, all specifications and related code are open source. Contributors are welcome!
Lightning is an overlay network built on top of an existing blockchain protocol. Similar to how the Internet is built in layers, Lightning creates an entirely new layer, offering instant, high-volume payments that are denominated in the blockchain’s native currency. Our implementation, lnd, has been primarily developed for Bitcoin, and we have also integrated Litecoin support.
The Lightning Network maintains and contributes to Bitcoin's core decentralization property, with the network being composed of a diffuse network of many small nodes routing payments amongst each other. This topology is designed to disincentivize centralized points of failure.
In order to use Lightning, you'll need a Lightning-enabled Bitcoin or Litecoin wallet. A Lightning wallet has all the same functionality as a regular wallet, but also allows one to instantly send/receive payments via Lightning. You can join our Slack or mailing list for additional details on testing lnd and Lightning wallets.
Lightning doesn't use its own token or currency, it only uses Bitcoin when on the Bitcoin blockchain. Lightning sends payments using the transaction format of the underlying blockchain. When running on Bitcoin, Lightning is actually exchanging native Bitcoin transactions—without the need to broadcast every transaction to the chain. This combined with a series of pre-signed contracts enables users on Lightning to send instant, low-fee payments, without having to trust central intermediaries.
At the moment, we are primarily developing our Lightning implementation to support the Bitcoin blockchain, but contributors are also working to develop Lightning for other blockchains, such as Litecoin. In addition, Lightning can be used to route payments across two or more blockchains with cross-chain swaps.
As of May 2018, we have released v0.4.2-beta of our Lightning Network Daemon implementation for Bitcoin's mainnet. The Lightning Network Specifications (BOLTs) are an open specification and can be found on Github. You can follow lnd on Github, or join our mailing list below for the latest progress updates.