Lightning Network, analysts have noted, is a conceptually beautiful thing that would let bitcoin users make lightning fast (no pun intended) payment to different merchants with low fees. On paper, in theory, it sounds pretty sweet, but the reality is a tough nut to crack and rears its ugly face every now and then. It has become the laugh of many cryptocurrency enthusiasts who always refer to this solution as being in the works for 18 months more, a favorite line of text in memes. But when a legend like Gavin Andresen mentions the issue on social networks, he means business.
Gavin Andresen, Da’ Man
There is not much more to write about the legend Gavin Andresen represents for the cryptocurrency world. Being one of the few mortals who pioneered the cryptocurrency movement back when Satoshi Nakamoto was still inside the development of Bitcoin.
Being a supporter of big blocks in what was once known as the blocksize dilemma, whose outcome resulted in the creation of Bitcoin Cash, he has a special interest in the problem of scaling and the effect that it has on the overall adoption of cryptocurrencies.
While not an active contributor today to the Bitcoin Core repositories, his opinions are representative of what early developers think and feel about the direction of the remains of Bitcoin’s roadmap. And by the way, they are not pretty at all.
Lightning (Does Not) Strike
Lightning Network has been famous for basically three things: The awfully difficult procedure needed to even transact on the platform, the fact that it has been in a pre-alpha for a long time due to the horrible complexity it carries within, and the fact that has been marketed as being “18 months away” since its conception.
Luckily, these three elements are present in the meat of this story. Gavin was answering to a tweet from Bitcoin.com that showed the difficult time (hell) that a user passed to get a lightning node working to pay, and the thing failed miserably.
It’s the kind of occurrence that usually ends up triggering the “18 months away” meme. This time around, it also came with another revelation: Lightning will not be ready anytime soon, and development difficulty remain levels away from normal Bitcoin code.
Andresen probably takes no joy in what now seems like an overly optimistic assessment: Lightning Network will be ready for prime adoption by the year 2020, an outcome that looks most bleak for Bitcoin adoption as a payment system.
That is why the group of “small blockers” in Bitcoin have been supporting the use of credit cards as a payment method instead of advocating for pure adoption. Jimmy Song, known cowboy and Bitcoin enthusiast, even made a video in his channel where he explained why it is a bad choice as a payment method.
KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
But maybe the biggest demise of Bitcoin was in trying to approach the problem with an erroneous focus. If you have a termite problem in your home, you do not blow away the house. Bitcoin Core seems to be doing just that, shooting itself in the foot.
Gavin Andresen stressed it out, stating that complexity is no good for software projects, because complexity makes everything, well, more complex.
Security is also a concern with the complex approach, and when it comes to money apps it is worse.
He also throws the gauntlet down to Lightning developers. blasting them away by saying that they should not be hired. The point of all this is? is giving away merchant adoption just for the sake of chasing down a pipe dream called Lightning Network; a thing that they could repent in the near future.
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