Lightning Network: Taking an Honest Look at Where the Tech is Now

TL;DR: Bitcoin Core (BTC) is at an interesting point in its development. Software engineers in large measure have moved to other projects, chains, coins. The lone innovation discussed for BTC is the Lightning Network (LN), touted now for years as the scaling solution without block size increases. Self-described power user and video producer Collin Enstad responds to LN fanboy René Pickhardt’s attempt to apologize for the technology, taking each claim point-by-point. Enstad’s takedown is an honest look at where LN is now, helping enthusiasts separate hype from reality. 

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Common Sense Applied to Lightning Network Hype

For longtime watchers of the space, it can be a bit frustrating when hype overtakes what is a pretty clear issue. That’s the case, for sure, with regard to Lightning Network social marketing over the past few weeks. The push for LN reached fever pitch when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey participated in its experiment, sparking lauds throughout the ecosystem about the payment channel’s ascendancy to grand heights.

Lightning Network: Taking an Honest Look at Where the Tech is Now

The tension is really encapsulated with one question: What does LN solve? Answers are muddled, futuristic, and usually involve tech speak, ending in something to the effect of the questioner just not understanding.

Tendency to over-engineer is rampant within an industry always hoping for the next new-new thing. And for sure that keeps venture capitalists at the ready, along with various rent-seeking companies and academics, but does whatever is being proposed solve a problem, make an aspect of what it is applied to easier? Cheaper? Better? In any way at all?

Lightning Network: Taking an Honest Look at Where the Tech is Now
René Pickhardt

Those seem to us fair questions. Collin Enstad is the perfect person to enter such a debate, asking of LN and its proponents why this tech at this time. He responds to a Lightning Network proponent, René Pickhardt, and his attempts to mythbust what he believes are misunderstandings about this great old-new thing. Pickhardt is, according to his personal site, “a Webscience PhD student at the university of Koblenz […] holding a diploma in Mathematics and Vordiplom in Physics.”

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