As of today, the first official release of software for Bitcoins first layer two scaling solution, the Lightning Network was released. While unnoticed by most people, for those involved this is a milestone of gargantuan proportions. It promises a lot more transaction per second, much better privacy and minimal fees, allowing futuristic things like streaming money, micro transactions and cross-chain atomic swaps. If it works as planned, it will not only vastly improve Bitcoin but it will also, perhaps more importantly, debunk conspiracy theories and obsolete the snake oils known as altcoins. If the Lightning Network delivers on its promises the narrative of the altcoiners will sound even more like gibberish than it does now. Scaling a decentralized network in which every node keeps track of everything that happens and everything that has happened is not an easy task and it will require outside-the-box thinking. The Lightning Network provides a complicated albeit beautiful solution to a difficult problem. For the average end user though, things will just feel a lot smoother.
It is important to remember that this is not an overnight revolution but rather the first step in a stairway aimed at moon. A software infrastructure will still need to be built on top of this new layer of software so we’re still months away from a user friendly interface. Such an interface would feature one button marked “send” and one marked “receive”. For mass adoption to occur a strong suite of software will have to follow these protocol upgrades and for that to happen users will have to favor software that embraces the evolution of the protocol rather than software that shuns it. You can start by boycotting wallet providers that haven’t implemented SegWit yet, which is a prerequisite for the Lightning Network. If you don’t know what any of this means you can start by educating yourself on these topics. Bitcoin belongs to its users.