At the C3 Cryptoconference Berlin, we got the chance to interview Jeff Gallas, the founder of Fulmo. The following interview is a transcription of the conversation.
Hello Jeff, nice to have you with us. To get started, a basic question: What does the term “blockchain” mean to you?
For me, Blockchain is first and foremost the technology underlying Bitcoin, which has enabled us to create a free, international Internet currency. Digital gold, if you like. In addition, the development of Blockchain has released a great deal of innovative spirit in recent years.
How are you dealing with Blockchain?
So I’m, as I said, primarily Bitcoin-inspired and have been busy in the last 2 years with the Lightning Network, which is a so-called second-layer scaling option for Bitcoin. Put simply, the Lightning Network is a build on Bitcoin, which allows many people to make bitcoin transactions at high speeds and low fees.
Where is the Lightning Network today?
Mainnet went online about a year ago and we have seen pretty rapid growth. While initially there were only a few dozen channels within the network, we now have 25,000 channels, with one channel always connecting two users of the network. The total volume is now several million dollars, which is quite considerable for such a relatively experimental project. The ecosystem has become very broad, there are a lot of developers who are building big and small, serious and serious players and developments.
There are several payment service providers and payment processors who are already accepting Lightning payments. We have several hardware node projects like the Raspiblitz, which, in effect, allows each home to run its own full-fledged Bitcoin and Lightning Node, or extend it to other crypto currencies, such as Litecoin, which also support Lightning Network and are compatible with the Bitcoin Lightning Network. In addition, there are plenty of mobile solutions for mobile phones, both for Android and for iOS.
Do I have to run a Lightning Fullnode to use the Lightning Network?
No, it’s more of a philosophical question. If you want, you can do it the way inventors thought, having the small computer at home and running a bitcoin/lightning node 24 hours a day to support the network itself, but there are called custodial solutions, where you can delegate this responsibility to third parties.
Bitcoin is known to handle 7 transactions per second. What throughput can the Lightning Network achieve?
In the current stage, practically several thousand transactions per second. Theoretically, the Lightning Network could still achieve much higher throughput. Currently, however, there is not such a great need for these transaction numbers to be achieved. With each node and each channel, the throughput increases by about 500 transactions / second, which benefits the Lightning Network with a network effect. The bigger the network becomes, the more channels are available, the faster and cheaper it will be for all participants.
Do you have to be online to send payments?
If you do not use a custodial service, then you have to be online to send/receive and route payments. If you are not online for a long time then, theoretically, some attack vectors would be possible.
Are transactions on the Lightning Network free?
If you think of Bitcoin as a checking account, the Lightning Network would be a kind of prepaid account. And now you have to first charge the Bitcoin on the Lightning Network. This transaction must then be confirmed again on the Blockchain and ensures just the security that each Lightning Bitcoin is always covered to 100% with Bitcoin. As soon as you open the Lightning Channel and have credits in the Lightning Channel there is no need to close this Lightning Channel anymore. The transactions that are then carried out in the Lightning Network are very, very cheap. We are really talking about fractions of a cent here. While the smallest unit at Bitcoin is the Satoshi.
What are the biggest problems of the Lightning Network?
Usability, in terms of mass suitability, is a challenge. At the moment it is difficult to find a 1-click solution where you can have an app and get started right away with Lightning. Of course, this also depends on the ecosystem, because of course, the Lightning Network has to be supported by stock exchanges in the long term. Everything with the channels has to be more in the background, without the end user being aware of it. The user interfaces have to be nicer and easier, and then there are several technical challenges that could make the Lightning Network even better in the background. For example, greater availability and liquidity would be desirable. The routing of transactions can also be further optimized. However, these are more detailed changes. The basic concept is available and now the finer points are being developed further.
And where is the journey going?
As always – to the moon.
If you would like to learn more about the Lightning Network then check this article.
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any cryptocurrency. It is not a recommendation to trade. The crypto market is full of surprises and overhyped assets. Do your research before buying anything. Do not invest more than you can afford to lose.
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