First Bitcoin Mainnet Lightning Network Product Launches As Developers Net $2.5 Mln

Lightning Labs released the first Bitcoin mainnet-ready Lightning Network (LN) implementation today, March 15, in what the company describes as an “important milestone”.

In a blog post, Lightning Labs, whose product Lightning Daemon (lnd) helps developers easily connect to the LN, described it as having “the necessary safety, security, and fault-tolerance features required for real-world, real money usage.”

The release comes as the company announced completion of a seed finance round worth $2.5 mln, participation in which came from some of the cryptocurrency industry’s biggest names.

Square and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Litecoin creator Charlie Lee led the list, which also includes Square Capital’s Jacqueline Reses and ex-PayPal COO David Sacks.

Reacting online, social media commentators celebrated the advance, with Lightning edging closer to offering Bitcoin users practically free and instant transactions.

Lnd also debuted with support for investor Lee’s Litecoin.

Despite accruing over 1000 nodes and almost 2000 channels since December 2017, LN is nonetheless not without its critics. Well-known industry figures including Core developer Peter Todd and Bitcoin.org creator Cobra have both voiced fears over rolling out the technology too quickly without thorough testing.

“Note that this release is intended for developers of future Lightning applications (Lapps) along with technical users and prospective routing node operators,” Lightning Labs’ blog post reads, adopting a pragmatic tone.

“In this early phase of Lightning, we’re focused on providing the software infrastructure (such as lnd!) necessary to bootstrap the network and serve as a platform for future applications, services, and businesses.”