Blockstream Releases New Lightning Network Software with Improved Performance, Documentation

  • Blockstream has introduced new Lightning Network (LN) software (for c-ligtning).
  • The new version comes with improved performance and greater flexibility for developers to integrate c-lightning into existing crypto payment solutions.

Blockstream, a Canadian bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain-related development firm, has launched a new version of c-lightning, the company’s proprietary implementation of the Lightning Network (LN) protocol - which has become an increasingly popular layer-two payment solution for cryptocurrencies.

Written using the C programming language, the latest version (0.7) of Blockstream’s LN software is notably the company’ first major release in the past 8 months. The newly launched LN implementation reportedly features performance improvements, software bug fixes, additional privacy options, and more detailed documentation.

As mentioned in Blockstream’s official blog post, the new features were developed by a team of 50 different contributors from throughout the world. In total, the group of developers published 1,300 commits (additions to c-lightning’s codebase).

New Features For C-Lightning

The new features for c-lightning include:

  • Plugins: “the flagship feature for the 0.7 release”. These “allow allow developers to extend Lightning with their own applications written in any language”,
  • Routeboost: lets users “send and receive payments over non-public (private) channels by adding their details to invoices”,
  • “Improved funds management”: “better control over which coins are used to fund channels”,
  • Option_data_loss_protect: a function that allows for greater security against potential data losses
  • “Reproducible builds”: lets developers build their “own Ubuntu binaries” which are a “collection of items [including] scripts, libraries, text files, a manifest, license”,
  • “Better documentation”: “revamped ... documentation which are now automatically generated at lightning.readthedocs.io”

As explained in Blockstream’s blog: “While extensibility and customizability, along with performance and security, have always been our primary goals, until now users had to write fully-fledged daemons in order to add simple functionality or make small changes.”

6,933 Lightning Network Nodes Have Been Launched 

Daemons are software programs that run as a “background process” instead of “under the direct control of the interactive user” and are used to perform tasks related to the main programs or applications.

According to 1ML.com, a website that reports statistics for the LN, there are currently 6,933 LN nodes which is notably an 18.76% increase in the past 30 days. Total capacity for the LN has exceeded 700 BTC (appr. $2.83 million at current market prices), a 17% increase over a 30-day period.

As CryptoGlobe reported recently, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey shared screenshots of him using the $300 Bitcoin Lightning Network full-node he received from Casa, which is notably a sign of the billionaire entrepreneur’s growing commitment towards the layer-two crypto payment network and the flagship cryptocurrency.

CME Looks to Double Bitcoin Futures Limit, but Is This Wise?

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has a new request for its regulator, as it looks to double open position limits on bitcoin futures contracts in the face of significant interest.

Nasdaq reports that the CME has already petitioned its regulatory body, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC), asking for an increase from 1000 contracts per spot month to 2000 per investor. Each contract represents five BTC, so essentially, at its peak,  a single investor's total position may edge towards a monumental 10,000 BTC.

This is in direct response to the contract's recent growth which is currently depicting record levels of activity, citing $370 million being traded per day. A spokesperson for the CME noted that the idea to increase limits was proposed on the continued maturity of the market:

Based on the significant growth and acceptance of our financially-settled CME Bitcoin futures markets, as well as our analysis of the underlying bitcoin market.

However, as Nasdaq writes the increase in the upper limit of positions is somewhat superfluous. As of July, the number of open interest contracts reached an all-time high of just 6100; given this, it seems the CME may be future-proofing.

Open to Manipulation?

However, concerns remain about the limit increase, as without them, the potential for manipulation rises; often to the detriment to the underlying asset. Although, as per the CTFC website, the threat of manipulation from bitcoin futures contracts is "low":

In general, position limits are not needed for markets where the threat of market manipulation is non-existent or very low.

Instead, Nasdaq posited that this might point to a lessening on the CTFC's strict rule of bitcoin; as well as a maturing of the market in general.

Nevertheless, some believe the CME's bitcoin futures contracts do pose a significant threat to the price of BTC; with some suggesting that blatant manipulation continues unchecked within the market.

As reported, there seems to be a correlation between the expiry dates of CME bitcoin futures contracts and a lull in the price point of BTC. In several instances, a significant drop in bitcoin's price has coincided with a closure from the CME. The most recent example of this occurred on Labor Day, September 2, when bitcoin rose an extraordinary 8% shortly after the CME shut.

Crypto analyst, Alex Kruger, highlighted this, noting the large gaps which formed on the CME chart, from the price discrepancy before and after closing.

This has become a pretty accepted practice within the market. Kruger has even gone to the lengths of compiling statistics each time this phenomenon transpired:

On these occasions, bitcoin cited an average 4.6% price discrepancy following the close of the CME.

Whether this is a coincidence or the market is indeed being actively manipulated is as yet unclear. Either way, with the increase of these limits it might be only a matter of time until we know for sure.

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com