First Beta for Bitcoin's Lightning Network Goes Live

California tech startup Lighting Labs announced today via their official blog, that they have released a beta version of their fLightning Network Daemon (LND). Lnd 0.4-beta is a major milestone for Lightning, being the first Lightning implementation to ever be considered stable and safe enough for use on Bitcoin’s mainnet.

The Lightning Network is a boon for Bitcoin, speeding up transaction times considerable and lowering network fees. Lightning will also help Bitcoin scale in the future - Lightning will do away with network congestion and high fees that were witness around December/January when Bitcoin interest peaked.

Lightning Labs has been hard at work for over a year, extensively vetting their software, working with developers from all around the globe. Others are working on Lightning implementations, but LND is the first to reach it to beta.

Lightning Labs CTO Olaoluwa Osuntokun said:

“We're calling this lnd release a beta as it has all the necessary safety, fault-tolerance and security features that we've deemed necessary to feel comfortable with early users to start experimenting with small amounts of real bitcoin and litecoin.”

Highlights from the beta release include Bitcoin Core support, a new seed format, improved fault-tolerance, smarter path-finding, automated contract resolution, and more. The full release notes are available on GitHub.

Lightning Labs also announced it has raised $2.5 million in seed-funding from big name investors including Litecoin creator Charlie-Lee, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Square Capital exec Jacqueline Reses, and PayPal COO David Sacks. 

David Sacks offered up his thoughts regarding the announcement:

"It's something the entire community has been focused on and working towards for the better part of two years now. It's really the culmination of a lot of work by many people, not just Lightning Labs. ... We see it as a very important piece of the scaling solution for bitcoin, and perhaps other digital currencies as well.”

Lightning is considered to be a huge step forward for Bitcoin, offering a solution addressing some of its biggest criticisms, such as expensive fees, slow transaction speed, and network scaling.