With bitcoin stepping up the mainstream wagon and more people being interested and investing in the coin, the technology itself is going through some development aches. The transaction blocks in the BTC blockchain are relatively small which concludes with the pools being often maxed out and clogged so miners need more time to confirm payments. Adding to that, transaction fees do move over on the increasing wave when the pool is full and this goes against one of the original ideas of cryptocurrency: fast, easy and cheap transactions. As time passes, many solutions are put on table when it comes to bitcoin’s scalability issues which are being attempted or are being developed, like even hard forks, Segregated Witness or even introducing a brand-new coin like BCH [Bitcoin Cash]. But, the best one to choose could be Lightning Network, which is still undergoing the creating and development.
The Lightning Network solution is a system that relies on a different chain (off-chain protocol) to process micropayments of digital currencies. It allows for instant and cheap transfer of funds between two parties in a peer-to-peer fashion, without the need for verification from a third party. In addition, the Lightning Network maintains total privacy and security of transactions, one of the strengths of cryptocurrencies. The protocol relies on SegWit.
A few days ago, the Lightning system came back in the news, as Bitrefill, a prepaid phone service, has successfully completed the first ever bitcoin Lightning Network payment. On Twitter, Alex Boxworth announced that he successfully paid his Bitrefill bill using Lightning. It took seconds and had no fees. In November, an atomic swap between bitcoin and litecoin was also successfully completed using the Lightning network.
This could be the best example of how, in the days to come, Bitcoin transactions [and why not cryptocurrency transaction in general] will be handled. An accelerated mass adoption process could step in as the Lightning Network upon implementation might revolutionize how we use virtual currencies. As sooner as better [as it seems], so finally, this could be one of the most important years for the crypto-ecosystem in a global scale.