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Learning The Lightning Networks

January 10, 2017
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There are lots of resources to read when learning about the Lightning Network for blockchain transactions.

Here is a recommended list of resources in a specific order.

  1. Lightning Network Summary from https://lightning.network is a great one pager that is very clearly written and provides a great summary intro.
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zVzw912wPo “The Scaling Bitcoin to Billions of Transactions Per Day” also on the lightning.network home page is important as well. It is clear with good examples.
  3. This 3 part article does a good job also.
    1. https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-building-a-bidirectional-payment-channel-1464710791
    2. https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-creating-the-network-1465326903
    3. https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-completing-the-puzzle-and-closing-the-channel-1466178980
  4. Finally, some discussions at bitcoin.stackexchange will come from a different angle also.
    1. http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/43700/how-does-the-lightning-network-work-in-simple-terms
    2. http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/42639/what-are-the-trade-offs-between-transacting-on-lightning-network-and-bitcoin-mai

These are your starters. If you want to get more technical, the whitepaper from the https://lightning.network homepage is your next step. It’s 59 pages and the first 10 or so pages are ok, but it then jumps another gear. Unfortunately what put me off was the abstract.

The bitcoin protocol can encompass the global financial transaction volume in all electronic payment systems today, without a single custodial third party holding funds or requiring participants to have anything more than a computer using a broadband connection. A decentralized system is proposed whereby transactions are sent over a network of micropayment channels (a.k.a. payment channels or transaction channels) whose transfer of value occurs off-blockchain. If Bitcoin transactions can be signed with a new sighash type that addresses malleability, these transfers may occur between untrusted parties along the transfer route by contracts which, in the event of uncooperative or hostile participants, are enforceable via broadcast over the bitcoin blockchain in the event of uncooperative or hostile participants, through a series of decrementing timelocks.

The second half of the abstract has one of the longest sentences I’ve ever read and I had to read it a few times to get the hang of it.

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