Lightning Network Makes BTC a Lost Cause: Anon Dev Pokkst on Switching to BCH

Lightning Network Makes BTC a Lost Cause: Anon Dev Pokkst on Switching to BCH

TL;DR: Independent anonymous developer Pokkst once used his skills to attempt bettering Bitcoin Core (BTC). Recently, however, he’s come to a realization: “Unfortunately, the Lightning Network is an over-engineered mess.” It was enough to get him searching for a better place to build, and he’s since landed on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain. He’s brought over his hallmark project with him, Crescent Cash. We caught up with the dev for an exclusive interview. 

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Lightning Network: An Over-Engineered Mess

In his Why I’m Moving to BCH, Pokkst wrote, “I like innovation. I had high hopes for the Lightning Network.” However, he quickly found how incredibly difficult it was to “walk someone through” LN’s basic structure. “It’s not that I’m against the Lightning Network,” he explained, “it’s just that the entire system itself could have been designed so so so much better than how it currently is.”

Lightning Network Makes BTC a Lost Cause: Anon Dev Pokkst on Switching to BCH

His journey is very much like the scaling debate of a few years ago, and he understands the tension between larger blocks and keeping networks suitably decentralized. What stood out to him most is what he termed “hypocrisy” of some withing the BTC dev community. He refers to a 1MB block size limit as “unbearable,” and though BTC proponents claim “it’s to keep the cost of running a node down,” he notes, “but at the same time we’re paying $50+ dollars in transaction fees (in 2017) and roughly $1.00 in transaction fees in 2019. That simply does not make any sense.”

As a result, he’s “just continuing on with my journey in cryptocurrency and software development, and seeing where Bitcoin Cash takes me,” insisting he’ll “begin porting my current apps over to the BCH network.” One of those is Crescent Cash, a port of an already existent BTC project called Crescent Pay, one of the first Pokkst helped develop. However, this is not just a straight port of the earlier version that runs on the sibling chain. It has a set of improvements that make it a wallet of its own.

Interview with Pokkst: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Crescent

It’s one of the first implementations of Cash Accounts, a system that lets users substitute addresses that were previously alphanumerical, long strings, for a more understandable, user-friendly format that produces tags like “Elon420.” Pokkst told us he’s taken a special interest in making Crescent Cash a noob friendly wallet, and Cash Accounts seemed like a good fit.

Pokkst describes himself as an ordinary college student, earning a degree in Computer Science, who likes to tinker with code in his free time.

Lightning Network Makes BTC a Lost Cause: Anon Dev Pokkst on Switching to BCH

CoinSpice: How did you get into cryptocurrency?

Pokkst: I first started looking into Bitcoin somewhere in-between 2013/2014 when the price first rose above $1,000. Didn’t pay too much attention to it, but I watched it all the way down to the $200 range. I was a freshman in high school, so I didn’t have any funds to buy anything. Once I got a job a couple of years later, I began buying it. I didn’t really have a use for it at the time, just thought the technology was cool. I stayed because everyone in this community is really cool.

Why did you change your efforts from BTC to Bitcoin Cash?

I was a big fan of Bitcoin (BTC). I’m a guy of innovation, so I’m always looking for new technologies and systems. I had high hopes for the Lightning Network, but after using it for a while, it was clear to me that all this time spent on it has gone down the drain. It’s simply too difficult and unstable for the layman to use. If we want Bitcoin to succeed, it needs to have an amazing, yet simple, user experience for the average person — like how Apple designs their products.

With the complexity of the Lightning Network, Bitcoin (BTC) is a lost cause. Bitcoin Cash still works flawlessly though, just like how BTC used to.

Lightning Network Makes BTC a Lost Cause: Anon Dev Pokkst on Switching to BCH

So you are an ease-of-use fan?

Yep! Though I’d like to call myself tech-savvy, and I like to tinker with things and get things how I want, I still like to enjoy apps that are just extremely simple and quick to use.

That gets us to Crescent Cash. Why a tailored new BCH wallet? What did the others lack?

So a major issue with cryptocurrencies are the long addresses, like the “1”, “bc1”, “q”, etc. addresses. I like Cash Apps “cashtags”, which makes paying a user very simple. I made Crescent Pay for BTC, but it relied on a centralized server for usernames and relied on storing the wallet’s extended public key so the server could generate addresses. I wasn’t happy with it, but it worked. With Bitcoin Cash, the Cash Account system introduces nearly the same thing but it’s decentralized. It’s secure, decentralized, and human-readable with their “example#100” alias system.

Lightning Network Makes BTC a Lost Cause: Anon Dev Pokkst on Switching to BCH

Most wallets for BCH do not support it fully yet. So I wanted to be the first to essentially get my foot-in-the-door and start pushing it, and hopefully other wallets adapt. Jonathan Silverblood, the Cash Account developer, actually helped quite a lot with development. He finished up the registration system API so I could finish Crescent Cash.

How will the wallet evolve? How difficult was developing for Bitcoin Cash?

Currently, I want to get the base system done and very well made, polish up the UI/UX, add features currently being requested (night mode is a big one). Right now I’m polishing a lot of the UI to make it more user-friendly for complete newcomers to cryptocurrencies.

Developing for BCH was very easy! It’s just like BTC, considering they share most of the chain up until mid-2017. Really easy to port things over for BCH users.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Recently, a Crescent Cash user uploaded a demonstration video (embedded below). 

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