Lightning Q&A with Andreas Antonopoulos


Andreas has a great video up on YouTube that you should check out. He answers quite a few questions and clears up some very real misconceptions. One thing that made me scratch my head a bit was that Andreas seems to say Litecoin is an alternative to Bitcoin if you don't want to use LN and would rather just send payments on the blockchain. He states that Bitcoin is the best path forward when wanting to use the Lightning Network. However, Litecoin was the first to do an atomic swap with Bitcoin on the LN testnet and is working hard developing a BOLT (Basics of Lightning Technology) compliant Litecoin Core wallet.


To summarize:

  • Payment channels do not need to be closed or cash out. Payment channels can stay open indefinitely and can intelligently find their route path.
  • You do not need to open payment channels directly with who you want to pay. You can open up multiple different channels to make your way into the LN and it will find a path through a multi-hop process, finding the node to pay even if you do not have a direct channel open with them.
  • LN wallets will be able to figure out routing and payment channel creation on its own in what is called automatic mode.
  • LN is not a hub and spoke kind of topology, it is source based onion routed. The node that starts a payment will be able to figure out each channel and capacity of all other payment channels on the LN. The optimal path then is wrapped in layers. The next node in the path can only read one hop ahead and doesn't know where it came from and where it is ultimately going. The destination node is the only node that knows it is the destination node.
  • You must have value to transmit value.
  • The very nature of LN is built for micropayments, so to have large hubs would make you a target.
  • Prosecuting somebody running an LN node is far-fetched.
  • There are 3 versions of LN out there which are BOLT compliant: LND, c-lightning and ACINQ eclair.