I first learned about Bitcoin in 2009. Ever since, I've (very) slowly pieced together information, while shaking off 99% disinformation, about how Bitcoin works. I run a Bitcoin Core fullnode and have multiple wallets in it. I'm able to talk to the API to handle payments in an automated fashion. I have it working.

My two "minor" issues are the large (compared to microtransactions) fees and the oftentimes long waiting.

I've been learning about Lightning Network since it was announced, which feels like "a number of years" ago now. I understand it on a very abstract level, and have attempted to read through this: https://github.com/lnbook/lnbook/blob/develop/02_getting_started.asciidoc

Looking at the table on that page, it turns out that there is only one single client running on desktop computers which uses Bitcoin Core: "Electrum". When looking up "Electrum", I got very sketchy vibes from its website. I really don't want that running on my computer. But I also need to support this Lightning Network thing. None of my potential customers are going to send $5 in BTC to my service when the fee for sending that $5 is another $5, or more.

But let's say that I somehow manage to trust this "Electrum", and actually get it working. Most people barely know what Bitcoin is, but I guarantee that nobody outside our bubble knows what "Lightning Network" is. At best, they will think it's one of the thousands of "altcoins" created daily, and will have zero desire to learn about this.

In short, I wish that Bitcoin Core would just have built-in support for Lightning, and although I've heard the (valid) argument that this would cause much more complexity to the Bitcoin Core project, which should remain "minimal" to be as secure as possible, one might also argue that if something isn't done about these huge fees for microtransactions, as well as the often long waiting for confirmations, Bitcoin isn't going to be actually used for anything but "digital gold".

While I like my "digital gold", I also want people to be able to reasonable give me more of it. If they have to pay such large fees and wait for so long each time, they will be very reluctant to.

Something about this doesn't add up to me. Either this is a revolutionary technology which should indeed be part of Bitcoin itself, or it's some sort of very ambitious and honest-sounding scam or attempt to take over or destroy Bitcoin.

I don't understand the mentality that "those who want to support and use it can do so". Shouldn't it be a good thing and the highest priority for everyone involved in Bitcoin to enable "lightning fast" (pun intended) transactions that cost next to nothing, which may exist in some kind of "limbo" for a while until they are settled using standard/real Bitcoin transactions?

I have the feeling that I could be sitting here and on my hands waiting for another several decades without anything happening in terms of Lightning getting adopted/user-friendly/integrated into Bitcoin. I can't wait that long. In fact, my current project is in sore need of instant and almost-free transactions. And, given the situation, I don't understand how I'm going to get a single customer.

Can somebody offer some kind of comforting news in relation to this? I have zero desire to use/support any of the "altcoins", including Ethereum. The same basic problems of low adoption and added complexity/no trust applies to those too. To me, there is only Bitcoin.

  • There are lots of lightning node/wallet implementations. You don’t like the look of electrum? Fine. Choose one of the many others.
    – chytrik
    Feb 13 at 20:10
  • @chytrik Please read before responding.
    – Drapper L.
    Feb 13 at 20:29
  • I did read, no rudeness intended. bitcoin-core does not need to encapsulate every possible functionality of higher layer protocols, and in fact doing so may present a security concern (which is a major downside). Luckily, there are many other lightning implementations to choose from, which are well-maintained and reviewed, and under active development. If you are in need of a business solution, look at something like btcpayserver + LND or c-lightning for added lightning integration.
    – chytrik
    Feb 13 at 21:05
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Does, or will, Bitcoin Core support Lightning?
    – darosior
    Feb 15 at 14:00

Something about this doesn't add up to me. Either this is a revolutionary technology which should indeed be part of Bitcoin itself, or it's some sort of very ambitious and honest-sounding scam or attempt to take over or destroy Bitcoin.

The mentioned book should also say somewhere that the lightning network is a protocol built on top of Bitcoin or a very creative and non obvious way to use bitcoin.

Let's take a comparison with some other more known software and communication protocols to understand what that means:

The world wide web (http) is a protocol on top of the internet (tcp/ip). That does neither mean that the world wide web "should indeed be part of" the internet nor that it is "some sort of very ambitious and honest-sounding scam or attempt to take over or destroy" the internet. Many people love the world wide web so much that the term is actually often confused with the internet. People say they surf on the internet when they actually browse the world wide web.

However many people don't need the world wide web to find value of the internet. For example Bitcoin is build on top of the internet not on top of the world wide web. While Bitcoin might have worked using http requests for communication it was just more convenient to implement a communication protocol on top of tcp/ip. Thus it is very good that the internet exists as is and http like Bitcoins offer various ways of using it.

Thus (as with Bitcoin and lightning network) it is good to have the more general technology kept clean and stand alone. Not every application and protocol build on top of Bitcoin should be a direct part of Bitcoin. That doesnt make it a scam either. Similarly with the internet. Separating tasks and applications is what helps to keep software working and secure and while I feel for all your requirements I believe if the security of neither Bitcoin nor lightning network was given in principle we would not even have this discussion.

  • Actually good points, but still, at the end of the day, we are in a situation where the "base" Bitcoin is only good for "digital gold". And I say that as somebody who truly don't want this to be the case; I want it to be used as a currency as well.
    – Drapper L.
    Feb 13 at 13:25
  • 1
    I disagree but this site is not about opinions, speculations of the future or believes. Thus I will not elaborate why I believe that the lightning network protocol will be crucial to help Bitcoin achieve becoming a currency Feb 13 at 13:37
  • I don't understand what you disagree with.
    – Drapper L.
    Feb 13 at 13:58

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