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Lightning Network Explained:
Lightning Labs Blog:
Lightning Labs Team:
Eric Lombrozo’s thoughts on Lightning Network:

Lightning Network is what many are calling Bitcoin’s saving grace. It can help Bitcoin scale to accommodate the masses by allowing for instant and nearly feeless transactions.

It’s called a Network because in a way it’s a separate network from the Bitcoin Network but it does have the ability to interact with the Bitcoin Network and others for that matter in a way that removes the long wait times that often accompany bitcoin transactions.
You may have heard the phrase second layer solitions, this actually gives a pretty good visual for this concept. Since it’s a network that can run on top of the Bitcoin Network it has the potential to finally give us the best of both worlds. The security, reliability of the Bitcoin Network, but without the slow and costly transactions. Most importantly, it has the potential to allow bitcoin to be used by the masses and their retailers.

The basis for Lightning Network consists of the ability to open payment channels which can contain many different transactions. Lightning Network is faster and less expensive than bitcoin because only the opening and closing transactions are broadcast to the bitcoin network. So this is beneficial for individuals or businesses who intend to have many transactions with the same recipients, especially those who have been waiting to take advantage of micropayments.

As the end user, one day soon, you can expect your experience with using the Lightning Network in order to use Bitcoin on a more regular basis will consist of you downloading a Lightning Network app. Much like when you first download a client wallet on your computer, the first initialization may take some time due to having to synchronize with the entire network and blockchain.
Once it’s been synced, you can fund your wallet and begin transacting by scanning QR codes generated by the merchant or whomever you want to transact with.

Lightning Network certainly wasn’t designed to cater to Bitcoin only. It is being tested with a number or other blockchains as well. As other cryptocurrencies might some day have to face the same stresses that come with trying to scale for mass adoption, if they can get ahead of the game this way, it’s a huge step forward.

Much like any network, the more computers running nodes that support and maintain it, the better. As the popularity of Lightning Network grows and as the number of supporting nodes increases, the days of waiting hours for confirmations and paying boat loads in transactions fees will finally be behind us.