Best-selling author Andreas M. Antonopoulos, of Mastering Bitcoin fame and two collaborators, Olaoluwa “roasbeef” Osuntokun, the CTO and co-founder of Lightning Labs and the lead developer of ind, one of the most popular implementations of the Lightning Network, and René Pickhardt, an independent Lightning Network contributor, recently announced that they were going to publish a book together on the Lightning Network entitled “Mastering the Lightning Network”.
The book is going to be published with O’Reilly, which also published both Mastering Bitcoin and Mastering Ethereum. It’s due to be published in the last quarter of 2020, which means that the book should come out in about a year or so from now. A Github repository welcomes contributions from the community so that they can help frame and shape the content being developed. The book is meant to appeal to users with a technical understanding of the fundamentals of open blockchains and bitcoin, and is meant to help address an educational gap on an exciting development in blockchain.
What is Lightning Network?
Lightning Network is a peer-to-peer scaling solution for open blockchains such as bitcoin — a layer built on top of open blockchains. By using payment channels between different payers and smart contracts to enforce reliable payments and to punish bad actors, Lightning Network enables transactions between individuals without the burden of putting everything on the blockchain — meaning that people can transmit value through cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin without paying burdensome transaction fees and without having to wait for long periods of confirmation time.
Instead, you can make micropayments through participating nodes, which open up payment channels that only broadcast to the underlying blockchain at opening and close. It’s also blockchain-agnostic, and can be used to transfer value between different blockchains, with a test being deployed between litecoin and bitcoin.
This technological change allows for the rapid, near-instant processing of cryptocurrency transactions with almost zero transaction fees.
What effect has Lightning Network had?
Lightning Network nodes have almost doubled in the last half-year for bitcoin, with about 4500 nodes operational by the end of June 2019. In the first half of 2019, capacity for the Lightning Network has almost doubled. Coin Center used a Lightning Network transaction through a gumball machine to help demonstrate the potential of blockchain, cryptocurrencies and bitcoin to members of Congress. And it’s not just bitcoin — Stellar’s founder indicated Stellar was looking to integrate Lightning Network as well.
Why does this matter?
The book about to be announced fills an educational gap, with the quickly developing Lightning Network helping bitcoin deal with scale issues that have plagued it from its inception. This rapid new innovation is changing how people use bitcoin and education around it will be critical to having its effects be propagated — and understood.
Lightning Network allows bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to be much more usable for the average person, and gives people the ability and context where they can use cryptocurrencies in their day-to-day purchases with low transactional fees and delay. The more education there is about the topic of Lightning Network, the more momentum is build in this regards.
As Andreas M. Antonopoulos puts it, “I’m very excited about the Lightning Network and want to share that excitement and knowledge with as many people as possible.”