The Bitcoin main chain is a large distributed ledger of transactions. Bitcoin is useful for maintaining a trusted record of payments, but is not practical for small day-to-day payments.
Bitcoin payment channels allow users to issue small payments to each other without paying the high transaction cost and latency of going through the main chain. When payment channels are connected to each other, a “lightning network” is formed. Lightning network is often referred to as a “second layer” scalability solution.
Alex Bosworth is a lightning infrastructure lead at Lightning Labs, a company that builds infrastructure for scaling blockchains. In today’s show, Alex explains how Bitcoin payment channels work, and provides some context on how developed the modern infrastructure is in terms of practical use cases for Bitcoin.
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