What exactly is Lightning Network and Can it really increase Bitcoin Scalability?

Lightning network is believed to be the only solution to the slow network transaction and high cost of transaction being witnessed in the bitcoin network. But what exactly is this technology all about?
Two engineers by the name Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja wrote the Lightning white paper.
One thing that must be of note here is that the lightning network is still in its experimental phase. It just underwent the alpha phase last month.

I will try and explain the Lightning Network as simple as I can. Payment transactions in Bitcoin are recorded on a legder which is the blockchain. The idea behind the Lightning Network is that instead of these transactions being recorded on a ledger, it can as well occur in private channels between users. But dont be too quick to believe that the Lightning Network is doing away with the blockchain. No, not at all. It is rather using the blockchain as a secure fallback inorder to provide the benefit and advantage of blockchain which is transparency leading to honest commerce.
What happens is that a channel is opened between 2 parties and funds are committed into it. When a channel opens, theres a broadcast to the blockchain and this will incur bitcoin transaction fee as usual. This channel can remain opened as long as possible during which these 2 parties keep exchanging payments free of charge as much as they like. After the expiry of the time, the channel closes and this leads to a broadcast of the last state of these 2 parties transaction to the blockchain which incurs another transaction fee. Cheating is not allowed and if an individual feels he has been cheated, the aggrieved party can broadcast the controversial transaction to the blockchain and others can easily verify this claim and this results in the offender losing the funds.
The Lightning Network, if it succeeds will definitely transform the use of Bitcoin as an efficient currency with low transactional cost which will definitely become the delights of many in and out of the crypto community and at the same time silence the critics of the cryptocurrency for a very long time.

Written by Dr Emmanuel, CEO www.keycomonline.com

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