Boy am I a fan! My hope is that this year Segregated Witness and the Lightning Network will radically change the speed and cost of transacting with Bitcoin.
But wait, there’s more… Lightning also can accommodate cross-block transactions. This is HUGE, a game changer, because it means that we’ll be able to trade one another different coins directly with NO MIDDLEMEN. This, and other technologies like Atomic trading and Plasma, mean that days are numbered for exchanges (except to get dollars if required, they are certainly not desired).
Not only that, but as Andreas Antonopoulos points out in the video below, the Onion Routing will ensure true PRIVACY. This is also a game changer – it means that we can truly claim our personal monetary and fiscal sovereignty by righting a huge wrong that has been held over humanity’s heads by central bankers. Namely that they can see everything you do, but you can see nothing they do. This turns that inside out, in a proper rule of law manner. Banking secrecy by private individuals illegally given the right to produce unlimited quantities of money is ENDING, and I say “YAY!”
This fact alone will bring BILLIONS of people worldwide into this new system of “banking.”
Right now lighting is running in a test mode with test nodes. A node is simply the entire ledger that resides on your computer so that as transactions occur the ledger that exists on your computer can be compared and verified by other ledgers on other computers to verify transactions. The more nodes, the more robust, and the more decentralized the network is.
Once verified, hopefully later this year, Lightning will release a final version of their node software that likely will include incentives for people running a full Lightning node. I currently run a full Bitcoin node on my computer and will also run a Lightning node when it is released. I’ll write more about running your own node later, it’s certainly easy to do and actually doesn’t require any expertise and very little energy and bandwidth – I don’t even notice my computer is running it.
The following video describes roughly how the Lightning Network works:
This video is an interview with Lightning CEO Elizabeth Stark:
And this video is with Andreas Antonopoulos who answers questions about the lightning network: