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Lightning will be plug and play!
This week, in Episode 20, we talk with Jesse de Wit, software developer and a proficient Lightning Network enthusiast!
Shivers all over his back… Jesse had his first amazing experience when paying for an article on yalls.org with his own node… Then the true magic began! He also attended the Lightning seminar at Chaincode Labs for a real deep dive into the Lightning Network!
Jesse feels that the power of Lightning communities is that it’s a place where people can discover everything there is to know about the Lightning Network and get all the help you need!
Ultimately, they continue to philosophize about a time when Lightning is plug and play and composable and we won’t talk about communities anymore.
If you want to hear more about what it takes to run a routing node, which tools and metrics to use and about the future of Lightning, then Watch or listen to the full interview or start reading below! Enjoy!
What makes you most enthusiastic about Lightning Network?
Lightning made Bitcoin so much better.
– Instant payments is amazing
– Scanning a QR code is amazing
– Instant feedback that your payment went through is amazing
– Automating payments on your attic is amazing
– Bitcoin went from scary tech to easy to use.
What do you see as the most important feature(s) coming to Lightning Network in the short term?
PTLCs for privacy and programmability
If you had all the time and people in the world, what would you do for the Lightning Network community first?
Create some really good tools for routing node operators to see where liquidity is needed and allocate it there. If routing nodes reach perfection, they vanish you know.
When you look at the probabilistic model of the payment process in the LN it estimates the success of a payment. Do you think that reliability is more important than low fees?
I think fees and reliability are going to do a beautiful dance
Do you think a fee market could flourish when routing nodes charge more for reliability?
I think nodes can charge more for reliable routing yes. And should charge more if they want to be a reliable router too (otherwise the channels will be drained in no time). But not too much, because someone else may offer the same reliability for a lower price. It’s a competition. I think you can see a routing node as a shop that is selling liquidity. The cheapest shop wins. Unless it’s out of stock very often, you might choose another shop, depending on your demands.
Is the Lightning Network mature enough for mass adoption?
If not, what needs to be improved? If so, are there things that you really want to see improved?
No. Liquidity management has to become a lot better. Transactions per second too.
To increase the adoption of Lightning we need a lot more merchants that accept Lightning. What do you think is needed to onboard more Merchants in the future?
I think by creating a reliable, easy to implement protocol you already pave the way to onboard more merchants. On top of that there will have to be a suite of competing software products that will make it easy for a merchant to accept bitcoin.
Liquidity management is a hard part of lightning. I wouldn’t know what the future will bring in that regard. Maybe merchants will prefer to go custodial. Maybe it’ll be so easy that anyone with an internet connection can be a merchant without any hassle.
You are a member of our ”Connect the World” and ”Rings of Fire” community, which specifically are focused on Lightning. Do you think these social communities influence the rate in which the Lightning Network grows today? Is it possible to measure the degree of adoption through the growth rate of Lightning communities all over the World?
Wow, never thought about this.
Thinking about it, I guess the first place people go if they have questions about the lightning network right now is communities like this. I’d say the adoption of the lightning network is big enough when we don’t speak about communities anymore. When this stuff is all plug and play and composable. When you’ll just find the answers to your questions on StackExchange. But for now I do think they’re a great metric.
Bitcoin and Lightning have been the catalyst for BitcoinBeach, El Salvador and projects like Bitcoin Ekasi in South Africa. Do you think this works best in developing countries?
I do. People in developing countries, and especially countries with bad financial infrastructure and bad monetary policy will be able to leapfrog into a proper financial system this way. In the Netherlands we’re spoiled. We have the best payment systems in the world. It’s all contactless payments here and they’re instant and free. We will be the last ones to move to Bitcoin.
It also works best there, because you can really help people there. An incentive to do right to people can bring great things.
If more developing countries will adopt Bitcoin and Lightning to be part of the solution of the many economic problems they have, what do think will be the effect on the rest of the world?
I think it’s inevitable that the Bitcoin and lightning protocol will become the protocol for exchanging value over the world. More and more developers will focus on Bitcoin. A standard backed by thousands of developers is something you cannot compete with.
Developments in the Lightning Network and all tools around it are happening at an incredible speed! What’s the most necessary to develop to get more pre-coiners aboard? And what is being done to make it more user friendly?
I’m very bad at orange pilling people. I don’t think I’ve orange pilled anyone actually. Getting precoiners onboard I guess doesn’t have much to do with things being developed. That will mostly be about bitcoin not just being that weird internet coin anymore.
In that regard it would probably help if all the shitcoiners would come back and help Bitcoin grow. But there’s the problem. Making money with Bitcoin is honest work. You’ll have to do real work and you’ll make a little bit of Bitcoin.
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Which advice can you give Node owners who want to build a Routing Node?
Only do it if you have a lot of time.
If you would start from scratch building your Lightning Node. What things would you have done differently?
I would have not restarted a node, but expanded on the previous one.
What tools do you use for managing your Lightning Node? What are your favorites and why?
Balanceofsatoshis, RTL, command line, my own software (work in progress).
Balanceofsatoshis is an absolute favorite, it is so complete.
If a node operator has an outgoing channel with a big node and a lot of routing activity, what’s the best way to keep that channel balanced? The constant need for rebalancing can make the channel less efficient due to the fees involved.
It’s a tradeoff. You could do a few things:
– A static fee with rebalancing
– A dynamic fee based on channel balance
– A dynamic fee based on historical flow
– You could also keep opening new channels to that node
You will have to try and calculate the expected amount of sats you’re making.
Interesting observation there is it always takes 2 channels to route a payment. So it’s never 1 channel alone. That can make it very difficult to determine what the costs are exactly.
What are the tools you use for rebalancing your channels?
Custom software I’m writing
How do you become a real routing node ? What skills do you need to be a good node?
Analytic skills. Also, right now, you need to be a developer I think. There’s just not enough tools available right now.
Do you use data from tools like lnrouter.app, lnnodeinsight, and amboss, to manage your node in a better way ?
What data do you think is useful?
The great thing about the lightning network is that all the data they provide is also available on your own node. You just have to collect and transform the data a little bit. I try to be not dependent on the external tools at all and make decisions based on stats from my own node. I’m not there yet, but hopefully, I’ll release some tools for you guys to manage your nodes someday.
There is a lot of discussion about the ranking of Lightning Nodes. Do you think it’s important for any Routing Node that really wants to grow and why is that?
I think as a routing node that really wants to grow you’ll have to create your own rankings.
You can see the phase where we are now at the moment when we talk about lightning nodes and adoption as the startup phase, when do you think we reach the next phase?
Probably when you download an app on your phone and can just receive sats, self-custodial.
How important is it to be part of a community to get/create a good connected node …….. (what share/role does a community have)
It’s very useful to get onramped. To get started.
Do you think it’s good or bad that some Lightning Node software distributions make it very easy for people to start running a lightning node without having any technical knowledge?
It’s good. But there have to be disclaimers that they can lose their money
How do you see the migration to Eltoo?
I’d be jumping to go to eltoo and delete all that state on my node I won’t need to keep around anymore.
The great thing about the lightning network is it’s layered. So if a channel migrates to an Eltoo channel, the rest of the network doesn’t care. In that sense, migration will be smooth.
Do you believe in a Hyper Bitcoinized World? Or do you think Bitcoin and Lightning will become an alternative that also exists along with FIAT money?
I won’t pretend to know how the FIAT system works. So even though I’ve read a lot about it, I don’t have a clue what the future will bring. The anarchistic view of the Bitcoin Standard certainly doesn’t appeal to me at all. I do know that the lightning protocol is a dream for developers in the finance industry. It’s going to change the world of finance forever.
if yes, what does a hyper bitcoinized world look like in your eyes
So it won’t be anything anarchistic. I’m quite a leftie myself. I think we’ll always need a government-like structure. Because half the world’s population is more stupid than the average person. And also some people are evil and will rob your belongings if there’s no neighborhood watch for example.
Anyway, in a hyperbitcoinized world exchanging value will be standardized over the internet. It will be extremely easy to do, just like typing an address into your browser. There will be an abundance of tools available to help you do your finances. Many of them open-source and free.
I do like the idea that you won’t need commodities anymore to store value.
Chaincodelabs seminar have 5 Bitcoin Topics en 5 Lightning Topics. Each individual topic represents a weekly curriculum. How much time did you spend to do all seminars ? Can you do it on your own tempo?
I did the lightning seminar, which was indeed a 5-week seminar. So 5 weeks in a row, it took approximately 5-8 hours per week of my time I think. You can do it in your own tempo, but you do have to cover the material provided for that week in the week at least.
If banks will offer their own custodial Bitcoin and Lightning services. How important is it to you that people can continue to use non-custodial solutions and have an alternative to fiat banks?
Without it, there is no Bitcoin.