I am very aware of the Lightning Network, and have repeatedly tried to gain a full understanding of it and start using it. I find that, whether it's due to it being too complex or me being too stupid, I just can't seem to start using it. Even though I have a high motivation to figure this out, I just "zone out" and give up due to all the complexity and how obscure it feels.

Maybe it will be a big thing, but I have my serious doubts. It seems too complicated and confusing, like the 32X add-on to the Mega Drive/Genesis video game console. Few bought it. Its power should've been included in the main console, or in the game cartridges.

What would it take for Bitcoin itself (no add-ons) to start supporting some kind of "microtransactions" with much smaller (or no) fees and a near-instant settlement period? Perhaps there could be a maximum value for such transactions, or something, but as long as you keep under that number, you can send as little as one (1) satoshi to somebody else for free and no waiting?

At least in theory, that sounds reasonable to me. Since the transactions are so small, it doesn't matter as much as a huge/large transaction, sent via the classic Bitcoin transaction mechanism with the high fee and minimum six confirmations, etc.

But would it be possible technically?


1 Answer 1


The main challenge is that any transaction that is transacted on the main chain will have to be stored on the blockchain in perpetuity, and processed by all full validating Bitcoin nodes. To my knowledge, all cryptocurrencies have the same property... they just aren't large enough where this is a real problem yet.

The other thing you should consider is that the actual value of a transaction to the Bitcoin network as a whole is irrelevant. A 1 satoshi transaction takes up the same blockspace as a 1 BTC transaction.

Hopefully this explains why small transactions must take place off-chain to achieve the cheap and quick settlement you mention.

The goal of a project like Lightning Network is to have microtransactions take place so they aren't taking up block space and needing to be stored and processed by all Bitcoin nodes forever. It will hopefully become easier to use as time goes on.

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