KRAKOW, POLAND – 2018/04/08: A Bitcoin Embassy ATM seen at the train station in Krakow. Bitcoin is currently the most popular cryptocurrency in circulation.

(Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) Lightning is the second-layer network that Bitcoiners hope will eventually make Bitcoin usable as a mainstream medium of exchange. It is a complex system which is poorly understood both outside the Bitcoin community and, unfortunately, within it.

So, this piece starts off with a useful layman’s explanation of how Lightning works. And it then attempts to address some of the technical misunderstandings of the system.

I disagree with some of the conclusions – for example, I think that if Lightning is to function efficiently as a medium of exchange, it will end up being considerably centralized. But this is a matter of opinion.

Thus far, it’s a useful post. I hoped to read a reasoned case explaining why committing funds to a Lightning channel isn’t lending, and why multi-hop payments don’t involve borrowing. Read more from…

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