2018 was a whirlwind of a year for digital currencies and Bitcoin; the crypto market lost nearly 700 billion in valuation, numerous hacks and other scandals dominated the headlines, and the overall doom and gloom made it difficult to sift through the noise. If you were successful in doing so, then you would have noticed some amazing developments going on. Projects that were under development for years, such as Lighting and Liquid, went live, and Bitcoin was brought to Ethereum through the efforts of the WBTC DAO!
With 2019 marking 10 years since the Bitcoin genesis block, we thought focusing on the endeavours of these project would be a great piece to write about - and hopefully, the doubters of what Bitcoin aims to achieve can have some positivity instilled into them.
A rendering of the nodes and channels on the Lightning Network. Original Source: https://bit.ly/2V9v5Xo
The Lighting Network is Bitcoin’s main focus for scaling payments, it is a second-layer payment channel network. And while the whitepaper was written in 2016 - it wasn’t until 2018 that a live product was usable. This is not without justification, the Bitcoin Core development team has always been careful with developments around Bitcoin, and complete security is a must if the Lighting Network is ever to be fully embraced. Luckily some of the best engineers in the world are working on Lightning, and thanks to development teams like those from Blockstream and Lighting Labs, as well as a community eager to implement it, Lightning had grown to a network of 2800 nodes with 20000 channels by the end of 2018. Further developments are underway to optimize the protocol and 2019 is sure to be a big year for Lightning.
Liquid by Blockstream is one of the best researched Sidechain projects in all of crypto. Original Source: https://bit.ly/2H3H7Jv
Another 2nd layer development, Liquid, a sidechain protocol allowing a massive increase in transactions between some of Bitcoin’s biggest companies, was launched in October. In development for three years, the federated sidechain protocol finally went live in 2018. Though it is not the trustless sidechain protocol initially envisioned - Liquid is still an impressive project to say the least. By allowing exchanges to move their transfers off-chain, better arbitrage and tighter spreads will reduce the price differences between exchanges. Additionally, all Liquid transactions are cleared and settled in 2 minutes - so you can say goodbye to waiting for 10 confirmations for your Bitcoin to deposit to an exchange!