At first, scaling was not intended for Bitcoin. It was meant to be a decentralised payment system that users could access from anywhere while maintaining their anonymity. But one of its drawbacks was that transactions took much longer and were more expensive than they should have because of its popularity.
As a result, developers built layers for cryptocurrencies, with the principal blockchain acting as the first layer. There were secondary, tertiary, and so forth layers underlying each of those. Each layer adds functionality and completes the layer above it.
The Lightning Network is a second layer for Bitcoin. By using micropayment channels, it scales the blockchain's ability to carry out transactions more effectively.
A transactional mechanism between two parties is a Lightning Network channel. The parties can send and receive payments through channels. Compared to transactions made directly on the Bitcoin blockchain, those made through the Lightning Network are quicker, cheaper, and easier to confirm. The Lightning Network can also be used to carry out various off-chain trades between cryptocurrency transactions.
Bitcoin was not intended to support the volume of transactions that take place every day now. The following are some of the problems that the Lightning Network aims to fix:
Going offline and closing the channel are two risks of using the Lightning Network. Consider Sam and Judy conducting business, and one of them has evil intentions. With the use of a method known as fraudulent channel close, the dishonest party might be able to take coins from the other player.
This necessitates the use of a watchtower, which is a third party running on a node, to stop fraud on the Lightning Network. The watchtower keeps an eye on the transactions and aids in stopping fraudulent channel closure.
Due to the vulnerability of payment channels, wallets, and application programming interfaces (APIs), the Lightning Network is also thought to be open to theft and hacking.
A network of Lightning nodes that may route transactions among itself is formed by the combination of individual payment channels between diverse parties. The Lightning Network is created as a result of links between various payment methods.
Network congestion brought on by a malicious assault is another danger. The participants might not be able to get their money back quickly enough if the payment channels grow busy and there is a malicious hack or attack because of the busyness. Denial-of-service attacks can also be used by attackers to clog up a channel and effectively freeze it.
By enabling off-chain transactions, the Lightning Network is a technological solution designed to address the issue of transaction speed on the Bitcoin blockchain. Like a primary blockchain, the Lightning Network eliminates the need for centralised organisations like banks, which now handle the majority of transaction routing.
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