The Lightning Network is one of those big developments a lot of Bitcoin enthusiasts have been looking forward to. While this technology is still in development as we speak, some significant progress has been made in the past few weeks. A desktop application for LND has been released to the public, which marks an important milestone for both Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.
LND Desktop App is now Available
A few weeks ago, we touched on the concept of LND, which is one of the many Lightning Network implementations in development right now. What makes this particular project so interesting is how it effectively provides an interface for both users and developers. In its current implementation, the Lightning Network is still in the early stages of development, and ensuring one can benefit from its new features will not be easy under any circumstances.
That being said, the LND developers have made some major progress so far with their client. More specifically, a test version of LND is now available to desktop users all over the world. The demo wallet is part of a two-week testing blitz designed to collect feedback and identify any lingering bugs that need to be addressed. It will be interesting to see if people come up with anything that needs to be improved upon.
It is important to note this LND test wallet has cross-platform functionality and will work on Windows and Linux for the time being. There is no Macintosh support, but considering this is an early alpha build, no one should have expected anything else. This doesn’t mean we won’t see MacOS support in the future, mind you, but for now, it is not necessarily on the agenda for the developers.
Additionally, it is worth noting the desktop demo app is fully SegWit-enabled. Even though Segregated Witness activated on the Bitcoin network quite some time ago, very few wallets and service providers have integrated it so far. Something needs to change in this regard, and it seems the LND desktop client will do exactly that. We can only hope to see more wallets do the exact same moving forward.
According to the team’s blog post, the Lightning protocol specifications are almost complete as well. For now, the goal is to ensure compatibility with this desktop app for the next two weeks, but it is possible we will see more support being added in the future. After two weeks’ time, the team will switch over to a regular release cycle. No specific deadlines have been provided in this regard, but things are expected to continue to move along nicely.
Last but not least, it is worth pointing out that the Lightning Desktop App is powered by Neutrino. For those who are unaware, Neutrino is open source and is packaged as a new client operation mode for Bitcoin. It will serve as the new backend for LND for quite some time to come. It also allows users to take full advantage of Lightning applications without needing to fully sync their nodes. This should effectively lower the barrier to entry, although it will be interesting to see how things play out in this regard.