Bitcoin Lightning Network Debuts On Blockstream Store

Announcements, Blockchain | January 18, 2018 By:

Blockchain firm Blockstream has released its micropayment processing system called Lightning Charge. The system is designed to make it easier for developers to build bitcoin payment apps on top of its Lightning Network.

The company said Lightning Charge complements its existing Lightning Network implementation “c-lightning.” Lightning Charge is written in node.js and its functionality can be accessed with REST API via JavaScript and PHP libraries, both of which have been released as part of the company’s Elements Project.

“Web developers will be able to work with c-lightning through their normal programming techniques, and they’ll also get expanded functionality such as currency conversion, invoice metadata, streaming payment updates, and webhooks,” Blockstream said. “Together, these additions make it easy for developers to use c-lightning to create their own, independent web-payment infrastructures.”

To demonstrate the system, the company launched an e-commerce store powered by Lightning Charge. The Blockstream store enables users to make use of Lightning micropayments on the bitcoin mainnet to make small purchases.

“By offering an early demonstration of this cutting-edge technology, we hope to bring Lightning to life with real-world functionality, providing a way for you to test Lightning and become a part of the micropayment revolution,” the company said. “However, the entire Lightning Network is still in a testing stage, with both known and unknown bugs, so you should use the Store with care, at your own risk.”

Lightning Network is a proposed solution to the bitcoin scalability problem. It is expected to be implemented on the bitcoin blockchain this year. The protocol creates an off-chain system by forming a network of payment channels where funds are not entrusted to a third party. The Lightning Network theoretically promises to scale bitcoin by allowing thousands of transactions per second without compromising its trustless nature.

The protocol works by creating payment channels between users and using its second-layer network to process transactions between users with open payment channels. Payment channels exist as smart contracts on the bitcoin blockchain, and can be used by Lightning Network users to settle their transactions on the actual blockchain.

Last month, Bitrefill, the prepaid phone payment provider, completed the first real mainnet transaction using the bitcoin Lightning Network.