The Litening: Will Litecoin Be the First Big Blockchain With Lightning?

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First envisioned as a way to expand bitcoin, Lightning has yet to go live on the world's largest cryptocurrency.

As attempts to enact the necessary upgrade have stalled there, some of Lightning's developers are taking action by moving work elsewhere - to the litecoin blockchain.

The move is also the latest for Lightning Labs, the startup originally co-founded by the authors of the Lightning white paper, Joseph Poon and Tadge Dryja, though both have now moved on to other opportunities.

Among a handful of Lightning Network implementations running on the bitcoin testnet, one, known as lnd, has now been made compatible with both bitcoin and litecoin.

Lightning Labs developer Olaoluwa Osuntokun noted that on bitcoin, lnd is compatible with one of a few alternative bitcoin implementations, btcd, which is written in Go. So, in addition to making litecoin-specific additions to the lnd software, the team ported over a version of this software to litecoin.

Just because developers can easily shift over their work, that doesn't mean a live Lightning will be up and running on litecoin soon.

At least one other Lightning Network startup, ACINQ, has also tested Lightning Network on litecoin.

Still, Pierre-Marie Padiou, CEO of Lightning Network startup ACINQ, also argued that it could still take some time to deploy on the main litecoin network.

"Our immediate goal is still to finalize a first version, and to achieve full compatibility with other implementations. We believe this is the best way to build a high quality, safe and usable Lightning Network," Padiou said.

"Once this is done, litecoin could serve as a realistic testbed for Lightning Network until SegWit activates on bitcoin."