by Robert DeVoe
Micro Raiden, the Ethereum based, off-chain micropayments component of Raiden has just gone live. The aim of the project at the moment is to offer fast unidirectional payments. As it stands, it costs zero gas to transfer fees in this network. The people behind Micro Raiden describe it as an off the shelf payment channel framework.
What is Micro Raiden?
Micro Raiden is a component of the more significant project known as Raiden, which means lightning in Japanese. At current, Micro Raiden is designed to help facilitate microtransactions across the Ethereum network.
Beyond Block Taipei
Two representatives from Raiden each did presentations at the recent Beyond Block conference in Taipei. Cobinhood, OmiseGo, and Ethereum Foundation leader Vitalik Buterin all attended the meeting.
During the second of the two speeches, Philip Seifert explained how Micro Raiden would work. Mostly, the project makes use of off-chain transactions through a technique called payment channels. Payment channels allow for instant and free operations on the network.
They do not, however, allow for bi-directional transactions. Thus the network needs to be larger than just two people to operate.
During the presentation, Philip gave several examples of how Micro Raiden could be used. One example was micropayments for articles on a news website. Each time a user opens a new section, the system deducts a small amount from their payment channel linked account. Another example was paying an autonomous vehicle for its services in real time. In Seifert’s words, if you stop paying, then the car stops moving.
Vitalik Already Dismissing Raiden?
At the end of the streaming video session for this part of Beyond Block, Vitalik Buterin gave a speech about what he calls Ethereum 2.0.
In his talk, he mentions both Raiden and Lightning Network explicitly, saying that while their solutions were exciting and potentially useful, they were outside of what he considered Ethereum‘s true long-term goals should be.
Specifically, he went on to say that the scalability problem (which includes and affects transaction fees) should be solved on-chain, perhaps through a technique called sharding.
It should be noted that Micro Raiden, and Raiden, are designed to move their tokens, RDN, and not other assets. Vitalik’s plan for sharding would be more applicable to Ether, and perhaps other ERC-20 assets.
Raiden and Micro Raiden may still be useful, but it is a little disconcerting that Vitalik himself would be somewhat dismissive towards the technology, while its creators were in the room with him.