Blockchain Cryptocurrencies

Lightning Network goes mobile

Yesterday, a French based developer launched the first Lightning Network wallet that is available for access through mobile devices. The new release, if working effectively, marks a great step forward for the cryptocurrency community in bringing payments closer to everyday use.

The premise behind the Lightning Network is an in-progress update that would essentially eradicate a number of existing issues that Bitcoin users face whilst using the currency. First proposed in a White Paper in 2016,  it offered an answer to the problem of Bitcoin’s inability to, ‘cover the world’s commerce anytime in the near future’ and work on the platform has been happening ever since. Through a series of steps that remain off the blockchain until the last transaction is completed, the general idea hopes to speed up block processing time (currently taking around 10 minutes) and also allow for a larger quantity of smaller payments to be processed between individuals without the approval of the larger blockchain.

It was reported by CCN that the new mobile wallet is the first mainnet version of the ‘Eclair Wallet’ and will be compatible with the majority of Android phones. It is the first mobile wallet to possess this feature, and one of three implementations that are working to create a fully functioning Lightning Network system. In the Google app store, the Eclair Wallet is advertised as ‘a next generation, Lightning-ready Bitcoin wallet. It can be used as a regular Bitcoin wallet, and can also connect to the Lightning Network for cheap and instant payments’ and it has already seen a number of new users comment on its speed and user-friendly interface.

It has been pointed out however that the app requires plenty of improvements to compete with more popular cryptocurrency wallets. Though it’s LN ability offers innovative features, it is currently impossible to back-up the wallet, which means that Lightning Network payments would be lost if the device was also lost.

Though having launched officially yesterday, it might also be worthy to look at the new Lightning Network-ready wallet as currently being in its beta stage. Larger implications that face the LN are yet to tackle the issue of fraudulent channel closes, the threat of hacking or a glitch that was pointed out Lightning Network developer Dryja, who revealed that the system could still lead to an accidental claim on money that has already been spent. In this light, it remains to be seen whether any bugs affect the new system or the scope of its potential usability.

Regardless of the steps that face the LN wallet in the coming stages of progress, it’s still certainly an exciting development that could really enhance the ability of Bitcoin. Should this eventually transfer into daily use, one could hope that this would at least boost the dwindling value of the cryptomarkets, if not bring the payment methods to the forefront of everyday spending.

About the author

Tamara Davison

The Medellin-based Mancunian started her journalism career in a London startup and has since travelled around the globe covering arts and culture news, as well as climbing the Himalayas and being lost in remote places. She claims her knowledge of Bitcoin is a healthy obsession that she picked whilst studying the fascinating repercussions new technology has around the world.

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