Blockchain.com Announces Alpha release of Thunder – First Usable Implementation of Lightning Network

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Blockchain.com, the creators of the world’s most popular bitcoin wallet have announced today the alpha release of Thunder, the first usable implementation of the Lightning network a platform that lets one make off-chain bitcoin payments in seconds and settle back to the Bitcoin Blockchain sporatically. 

“Blockchain is committed to bringing our block chain technology and the power of open finance to every corner of the world,” said Blockchain CEO Peter Smith. “This release takes us one step closer to realizing that ambition.”

Lightning networks have been purely conceptual – until now. Even in the prototype phase, Thunder has the potential to facilitate secure, trustless and nearly instant payments, unleash the power of microtransactions, allow the network to handle heavy loads, and increase user privacy.

According to Romain Dillet at Techcrunch, with Thunder, a transaction is so fast that the network can process 100,000 transactions per second. On average, Visa handles 2,000 transactions per second and the Visa network is capable of processing 56,000 transactions per second.

From a feature perspective, there is both a node and a wallet (with GUI) present. Even more importantly:

  • Thunder settles to the Bitcoin Blockchain.
  • The network can achieve better-than-Visa scale (100,000 TPS) with only a few thousand nodes on the network.
  • Fees will develop naturally, due to the free market in an open and permissionless network and will fundamentally be lower than on-chain payments.
  • All communications between all nodes and wallets are encrypted using AES-CTR and take place only after completing authentication.
  • Payment Channels can be opened and closed at will, with transactions settling onto the bitcoin blockchain.
  • Thunder will relay payments over multiple nodes in the network automatically, using encrypted routing. No one knows who made a payment, allowing for more privacy.
  • Payments can be settled automatically with no manual intervention needed.
  • Instant Payments that are irrevocable the moment you see them.
  • Until both CSV and SegWit are implemented on the bitcoin blockchain, transactions are not enforceable at the bitcoin protocol level. So, the current Thunder prototype is best suited for transactions among a trusted network of users and should not be used for real payments.

“Off-chain payment networks are, at this point, highly experimental,” said Blockchain developer and Thunder creator Mats Jerratsch. “However, it’s important to begin these projects and collaborate with the community, because our ability to scale bitcoin or another virtual currency depends on a launch and learn approach.”

To learn more about Blockchain or Thunder, please visit www.blockchain.com/thunder or https://github.com/blockchain/thunder.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder of industry publication Blockchain News, partner at ICO services collective CryptoAsset Design Group (helped raise over $200m+), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser at leading industry event  CryptoFinancing (first ICO event in Europe) – Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of half a dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1200 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.
 
Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, Shanghai,Tel Aviv and Venice. His network is global and extensive.
 
He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He’s written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French.
 
A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein’s professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he’s travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world.
 
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Seas’ travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he’s raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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