The Year 2019 has Been Very Educational for Lightning Network Developers

Scaling Bitcoin to a more mainstream level will most likely happen through layer-two solutions. The Lightning Network is of great interest in this regard, despite its crucial flaws and shortcomings. A recent list of known vulnerabilities confirms there is plenty of work ahead prior to making this technology more widely accessible. 

The Long Bug List

Whenever a new form of technology is in the early days of testing and coding, there will be plenty of bugs. This applies as much to new video games as it does to the Lightning Network. What is worrisome in that latter tech’s regard is how it can have severe financial implications for its users. Most of these problems can be solved through a patch of some sort, but that doesn’t make the technology more appealing. 

Based on a recent Reddit post, it quickly becomes apparent the past few months have been very eventful where the Lightning Network is concerned Numerous bugs and issues have been reported, which shows users are trying to ensure there can be no further issues. On the other hand, it also highlights the unusable state of this technology. Solving all of these issues could have been done in advance, for the most part, yet it seems that hasn’t been taken care of properly. 

September was a bad Month

Most of these incidents are stand-alone and date back to the first half of 2019. Noteworthy mentions include how the LN routes transactions, potential security issues causing a lack of funds, a large amount of initial payments failing completely, and a successful DDoS attack. Very serious problems which further confirm this technology isn’t ready for prime use by a long shot. At the same time, a lot of these problems have been fixed successfully, by the look of things, which is somewhat promising. 

In September of 2019, however, three major problems were discovered. There was the exploitation of CVE which could cause a loss of funds unless users upgraded their version accordingly. There was also a full disclosure of a network security vulnerability that had many people worried.  Last but not least, there was the shutdown of over half of the LN’s capacity at that time. The user also documented this entire process, showing the LN is far from intuitive or convenient to use. 

Looking to the Future

Based on the feedback provided throughout 2019, it is evident that the Lightning Network has become safer to use. Without bug reports like these, the technology would continue to pose a lot of problems for its users. That being said, there is a good chance a lot of problems haven’t been reported to the developers as of yet. It seems best to steer away from using big balances unless one has the necessary knowledge to not only identify problems but also explain them to the developers properly.