The team behind the Lightning Network have made an exciting announcement today. Lightning Labs have released a beta version of the software that is ready for use on the Bitcoin main network.

Is Lightning Network the End of the Scaling Debate?

The Lightning Network is a technology that is aimed at increasing the number of transactions per second that the Bitcoin network can process whilst retaining the robust security that has caused people to liken Bitcoin to gold.

Lightning Labs have spent over a year developing the piece of open source software. Blocksteam and Acing, two other companies who specialise in blockchain programming, have also contributed.

The announcement today states a piece of software (the Lightning Network Daemon) that developers can use to communicate with the protocol is ready for use with real Bitcoin. It does, however, recommend that users keep the amounts they experiment with small whilst the software is still so new.

The release is the fourth version of the Lightning Network Daemon. It expands on previous versions with an enhanced feature set, improved fault-tolerance, many bug fixes, and other safety and security features required to allow users to use it with real money.

Lightning Labs acknowledge this first mainnet release as “an important milestone”. They also state that the software released today is intended for use by developers, other technical users, and those hoping to operate the necessary routing nodes used to facilitate Lightning Network payment channels.

In a blog post, they state:

“This release is also the first release of lnd [Lightning Network Daemon] that has an option to run on Bitcoin’s mainnet, with the necessary safety, security, and fault-tolerance features required for real-world, real money usage.”

Meanwhile, the founder of both Twitter and Square, a payments processing application, is amongst those investing in Lightning Labs. According to Quartz, Jack Dorsey has committed personal funds to project, along with others, to the tune of $2.5 million. Evidently, the entrepreneur remains bullish long-term on Bitcoin, despite the recent price pullbacks.

Jack Dorsey has long been optimistic about Bitcoin’s role as a digital cash of the future. His Square Cash app recently began integrating support for users to buy and sell Bitcoin. The upgrade to the application was rolled out to only a small section of the application’s users last November. The features then were somewhat limited. These have since been expanded, as has the number of users able to buy, sell, and transfer Bitcoin with the app.

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