Initially, a “second layer” payment protocol Lightning Network was aimed at bitcoin. It was expected that LN would solve this currency’s scalability problem, helping people to carry out speedy and cheap transactions. According to the plan, LN was supposed to move operations above bitcoin’s blockchain on a new layer, then process them and record the results back on BCT ledger.
However, Lightning started spreading so much that it is no longer used exclusively for bitcoin. As Alyssa Hertig writes in the article for Coindesk, scalability issues began bothering other currencies, so their developers also decided to turn to LN for a solution.
This year, several altcoins are considering the launch or testing of this tech trend to cope with their challenges. Among them, there are Zcash, Litecoin, and even bitcoin’s “younger brother” Ethereum.
But the latest coin to implement LN is Stellar, which, according to Coinmarketcap.com, is among the major altcoins. Stellar has already appended Lightning to its 2018 roadmap.
Jeremy Rubin, who is Bitcoin Core contributor and also manages the development of LN for Stellar, believes that any crypto-project should ass Lightning to it so as to remain capable of conducting adequate payments.
"Lightning is perhaps the most important protocol innovation happening in the cryptocurrency space right now. When bitcoin's lightning network comes online fully, any community not preparing scalable off-chain solutions is going to get left in the payments dust," said Rubin.
New “Lightnings” for altcoins
However, not all cryptocurrencies’ developers are eager to use LN in the way it has been designed for bitcoin. Therefore, they are trying to come up with their own lightning-like solutions.
For example, devs of Ethereum are developing Raiden, an off-chain scaling tech, whereas NEO can boast with its own option called Trinity. In spite the fact that each of the projects is working from different code, they take the same idea, which is to develop a high-class net thanks to which people will be able to move transactions.
In the meantime, other altcoins’ projects admit that LN-like system will be necessary, according to Hertig. But the thing is that they do not have time to work on it at present.
Even though Zcash developers are working on a new kind of LN-like micropayments technology called BOLT, they do not know when exactly it will be launched. But what is known is that this tech will be able to retain net’s anonymity.
On the other hand, in the Stellar's roadmap it is noted that this cyber coin, particularly, does not need LN, but still, the tech would have a significant impact on Stellar’s “long-term scalability and security."
"Of course, unlike bitcoin, stellar doesn't need 'saving.' We're just going from a good place to an even better one," reads Stella’s roadmap.
Also, there has been already expressed an idea concerning the possibility of uniting all the lightnings between various crypto projects. Although, its implementation might take a lot of time to occur.
Lightning Labs is among young companies which work on this idea of lightnings interconnection. But its co-founder and chief executive officer Elizabeth Stark says except for bitcoin and litecoin, not all coins projects may show off with the meaningful implementation of LN.
"Some communities are interested in it or working on it in the early stages, but it'll take time," said Stark.
Notwithstanding the above, some developers already believe that currently existing crypto exchanges could be substituted with unique technologies. The last ones, by the way, would permit people to trade multiple assets between blockchains. At the same time, lots of developers are sure that the only way to get to such stage is through lightning.