An announcement by Rawtx on May 9, 2018 has marked the launch of yet another bitcoin wallet for the Lightning Network, along with eclair. The Lightning Network is touted as a solution to bitcoin’s scalability problems has been live and running for several months now.
Mobile Lightning Wallet
Rawtx’s application is now available on the Android platform, and you can download the wallet through Google’s Play Store. With the app, users can send or receive testnet bitcoins on the Bitcoin blockchain through the existing Lightning infrastructure.
Every wallet is composed of two accounts, a checking account, and a savings account. The checking account can be used to view funds currently in the Lightning channel, while the savings account is used to check balance funds on the blockchain. Users can also use the the Rawtx wallet to create, join or close any payment channel.
The Lightning Network is an off chain scaling solution that settles transactions outside the blockchain.
Because the platform is an extension of the Bitcoin network, only supported wallets can be used to send micro-payments through this peer to peer method.
What is the Lighting Network?
Transaction fees on the Bitcoin blockchain skyrocketed throughout 2017, making it financially unviable to send and receive small payments on the network.
Independent developers then proposed the creation of a second layer scaling solution dubbed the Lightning Network. In theory, it would be ideal for transferring small amounts of bitcoin since the exchanges are held off-chain. Whenever two users want to transfer money between themselves, they open what is known as a ‘payment channel.’ The channel is a two-way medium that can both send and receive bitcoin.
The two users that created the channel can then carry out an infinite number of transactions between them as long as the channel remains active. The payment settlement is done off the main chain as details of the transactions are not sent to the blockchain. Ultimately, the main chain does not deal with the individual payments sent on any channel and only records only the opening and closing balance at both nodes.
Therefore, with the proper and widespread implementation of the Lightning Network, the number of transactions on the main chain are reduced, freeing up the network to be used for settling larger amounts.
The transaction fee for sending bitcoin via the Lightning Network is also cheaper as compared to exchanges on the main blockchain. While the blockchain is not involved in any payment settlement of the Lightning Network, it is referenced in case of any discrepancies.
Lightning Network Wallets
Several web-based wallets such as Zap, Eclair, and HTLC.me have already allowed users to send and receive testnet bitcoins using the Lightning Network. It is, however, important to note that both the sender and the recipient of a Lightning transaction must have a compatible wallet associated with their account address.
While either party can open a Lightning payment channel, the other user needs to join the channel for it to be valid. Once both the users have successfully verified the payment channel though, they can instantly send and receive bitcoin via the Lightning Network.