After much discussion, extreme frustration, and a long wait by Bitcoin users, the Lightning Network was launched by Blockstream, the team of developers that have been working on the update for the network.
However, since the update was in its testing phase, it was launched with a test store and a cautionary warning: use it at your own risk.
But it seems like users did not heed to the warning at all, as even in the midst of various reported bugs, the transactions for Lightning Network immediately grew to a level which not even Lightning Network enthusiasts could have predicted.
To add to the issues rather than testing for them, most of the users started using the mainnet for real transactions, and needless to say, that resulted in more issues and problems than initially planned for.
Why Launch It, Then?
The bugs had not been unexpected since the network is still in the testing phase. Blockstream’s team itself advised users not to utilize the Network on the mainnet since that could cause various issues, but as it is with more consumer warnings, this was taken with a grain of salt by the users who continued using the network on the mainnet.
The transactions done off the mainnet were also not exclusive for the test store that Blockstream had launched, and these collective actions of going against warnings are now ending up in horror stories by network users, including, but not limited to, losing real Bitcoin during their transactions and delays in even the simplest of transactions.
What Is the Lightning Network?
The Lightning Network is an update to the Bitcoin network which allows for near-instant transactions with low transaction fees, all by the help of allowing off-chain, pre-funded channels that the users can utilize according to their requirements.
Since the Bitcoin network’s scalability issues have been growing out of hand and resulting in hours to complete a simple transaction along with extremely high transaction fee, developers from Blockstream deployed the Lightning Network for testing purposes along with a test store for Lightning that could facilitate the testing activities. However, instead of the store being utilized, people seemed more interested in testing the pre-funded channels for real transactions, and that saw an influx of funding for the channels.
While the deployment of Lightning Network had its issues, the scenario was explained by Blockstream clearly in a detailed manner.
Going against the developers’ warning who developed the very system and then complaining about losing funds is akin to how one would go against their doctor’s advice, and then blame the doctor for getting hit by side effects or further illness.
The Lightning Network is still in testing phase. The transactions are still in operations and so continue the complaints.
It remains to be seen if users would understand the restrictions that the Lightning Network poses at the moment and leave the network to be used for testing purposes only, as that is the only thing that could keep them from losing their funds during failed transactions.