TL;DR: While the Raiden Network is not ready for prime time yet, its little sister µRaiden is an off-the-shelf micropayment solution which could be implemented to help solve some of the scalability and latency challenges of many use cases today.
What is µRaiden?
The Raiden Network aims to provide scalable, low-cost, and instant token transfers for Ethereum. While it’s not finished yet, µRaiden already offers these features in a more restricted environment today.
Talking to Dapp developers, we noticed that many of them just want to use the Raiden Network as a robust many-to-one payment channel system; one service provider offering services to many recurring customers. Such systems do not require a full-blown network but instead already benefit greatly from direct payment channels. For these, we have designed µRaiden.
Introducing µRaiden (Micro Raiden): a robust framework to implement instant and free pay-per-use payment channel technology in commercial applications.
µRaiden is an open source, easy-to-use, off-the-shelf system to implement ERC20-based micropayments. It uses unidirectional payment channels to allow for frequent, fast, and free payments between two parties. These enable providers to easily charge for their services on a pay-per-use basis. Applications that encourage recurring customer payments or even micropayments can greatly benefit from a µRaiden setup. Examples include paywalls for news articles, pay-per-request APIs, micropayments for storage, bandwidth, and computations, livestream tipping, etc.
µRaiden will also be used in the Raiden Network to pay auxiliary helpers for services such as path finding or channel monitoring.
We built an interactive live demo of µRaiden where you can buy fortune cookies with µRaiden demo tokens on the Kovan Testnet.
You can also check out our paywall demo that shows a basic example of the user experience of a µRaiden-powered website.
Our second demo shows how µRaiden micropayments can be used for per-use API payments using just a few simple lines of Python code.
µRaiden is currently undergoing an external security audit and will be ready to use on the Ethereum mainnet very soon. A testnet version is available on our GitHub. If you are already aching to get your feet wet and implement your own micropayment based application, check out the source code, documentation and the examples on GitHub or visit the website for more information.