Lightning Labs announced the alpha release of Lightning Loop - a new solution whose main task is to simplify the process of receiving bitcoins in the second level of the Lightning Network.
In the developers' blog, the mechanism of how channels work on the Lightning Network is compared to the pipes through which the money flows: the more money the user sends, the more money he can accept, and vice versa. Despite the fact that money is constantly moving through these pipes, the total amount of funds remains unchanged. Therefore, unlike other payment systems, the Lightning network for receiving funds needs the so-called “incoming capacity”.
The initial release of the new solution is intended to facilitate the acceptance of payments, and for this purpose uses a mechanism called Loop Out. It allows users to increase the bandwidth of receiving funds, unloading their funds from the network, but leaving the channels open.
As an example, the developers describe a situation in which a certain company Backgammon decided to start selling pizza on the Lightning Network. It is doing well, sales are at a high level, but one day the company discovers that its channels capacity are filled, and it is no longer able to accept payments. It is here that Loop Out comes to the rescue - the company transfers funds from its channel to any external Bitcoin wallet or even exchanges them through the exchange for Fiat, after which it can still continue the cycle with the sale of pizza and payment acceptance.
Moreover, when a merchant like Backgammon first joins the Lightning Network, he can use Loop Out to get his initial “incoming capacity”. Thus, new members of the network no longer need to rely on other users who want to open a payment channel with them.
In the next release, the developers intend to add the function Loop In - it will allow users to replenish Lightning channels through on-line transactions from their wallets or exchanges.
A new solution allows you to safely withdraw or deposit bitcoins on the Lightning Network, using non-custodial contracts, that is, during this process, third parties do not have access to user tools. This will make the entire network more efficient, stable and cheap.
The alpha release of the Lightning Network is primarily focused on developers - the solution is available through the command line interface or through the gRPC API. On the client side, the software is open source and operates under the MIT license, the server side can be verified through bitcoin contracts.
There is a limit on the size of the transaction - the maximum amount is 0.01 BTS. In this case, the transactions themselves within the Lightning Network at this stage are carried out without commission (except for online transactions).