Lightning Network is a proposal for an off-blockchain network that would support super-fast transactions and boost Bitcoin scalability. Wednesday, miner hosting company HashPlex unveiled an alpha Lightning Network hub implementation, as developers continue to refine the layer (sometimes called layer-2) on testnets.
The python Lightning implementation works with the open source Bitcoin node. Integration tests on a local network, which include three Bitcoin nodes, show that users can open a channel, close a channel, unilaterally close a channel, and send and receive money. The three nodes are able to make near-instantaneous transactions off the blockchain, according to the developers.
As is, Bitcoin isn't scalable. To give you an idea, the network currently supports roughly seven transactions per second, while Visa supports roughly 45,000 per second. The Lightning Network supports faster transactions at a greater volume (as the below graphic succinctly illustrates).
“As of today, our hub could be made secure on the Bitcoin testnet with the Blockstream extensions that they call 'alpha net' (which allow for things like Lightning and Sidechains),” HashPlex Founder Bernard Rihn explained.
Developer Jasper Hugunin led the project. HashPlex will run a Lightning hub and plans to open-source all future protocol work. “We plan on bringing on contributors and letting a quorum drive its direction according to the interests of the community,” Rihn said.
HashPlex is known for building a hydropowered miner hosting facility, which was a first for Bitcoin. Lightning Network development is a great departure from this kinda stuff, but so it goes in Bitcoinland.