Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Version 1 RC is Here, Mainnet Beta Implementations On The Way

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According to a post from three Lightning Network development teams on Medium, a release candidate for version 1.0 of the Lightning Network protocol has been completed, which includes compatibility between three different implementations of this layer-two scaling solution for Bitcoin.

Multiple teams working on the Lightning Network first started to work towards the standardization of a Lightning Network protocol during last year’s Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Milan, and the Lightning Network specification has been developed by teams at ACINQ, Blockstream, and Lightning Labs.

The three teams involved in the Lightning Network specification have successfully completed transactions on the payment channels-powered network between their different implementations of the protocol.

These Lightning Network developers are now looking for further peer review and feedback from the greater development community for a final 1.0 version of the specification, in addition to working towards their own beta releases for their implementations on Bitcoin’s mainnet.

Interoperability Between Different Lightning Network Implementations

While developing an interoperable Lightning Network protocol, the three development teams behind today’s Medium post also worked on their own implementations of Lightning Network-enabled bitcoin wallets. An interoperable Lightning Network allows all implementations of the protocol to interact with each other seamlessly while avoiding incompatibility issues.

In their Medium post published today, the Lightning Network developers revealed that their comprehensive set of integration tests are now all passing.

For their tests, the Lightning Network developers used the ACINQ, C-lightning, and Lnd implementations of the Lightning Network. The developers were able to complete Lightning Network payments on Bitcoin’s mainnet across all three implementations.

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“These tests are the first multihop Lightning payments using real Bitcoin,” says the announcement on Medium.

In one test, a payment was sent from the Lnd Lightning Network app, routed through a C-lightning node, and received by Starblocks, which is an example online coffee shop that uses Eclair. The second test involved sending a payment from an Eclair client to to pay for an article. This second test payment was also routed through a C-lightning node.

Beta Releases for Mainnet on the Way

Although a timeline for beta releases of Lightning Network implementations on Bitcoin’s mainnet were not made available, the Medium post did indicate that the three team’s behind today’s post are now working diligently on their own implementations with a focus on security and stability.

“This announcement is about compatibility and a final candidate for the specification,” Lightning Labs CTO Olaoluwa Osuntokun told CoinJournal when asked for a more specific timeline on the beta mainnet releases of specific implementations. “Each implementation team will release its beta code separately, as the team deems its implementation safe and secure.”

Elizabeth Stark, who is the CEO of Lightning Labs, was similarly vague in regards to release timelines for Lightning Network implementations at the recent Baltic Honeybadger Bitcoin Conference in Latvia, where she was only willing to indicate that 2018 will be the year when this layer-two scaling solution for Bitcoin is ready for wider use.

Although some user-interfaces for the Lightning Network are already available, ACINQ CEO Pierre-Marie Padiou told CoinJournal testing of these implementations will likely be for somewhat advanced users at first.

“A handful of lightning UIs are already available for testnet, such as the eclair wallet android app, the lightning desktop app or zap wallet (both on top of lnd),” said Padiou. “The Electrum team has also recently announced that they are working on integrating Lightning into their wallet.”