‘Zap’: Developers Release Lightning Network Beta Wallet

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Developer Jack Mallers has announced that Lightning Network wallet Zap is ready for testnet use with its Beta release on Monday.

The project has been open-source since its inception, but the release of Zap aims to make transacting on the Lightning Network easier for the average user. To gain an understanding of how easy it is to use. Download the demo and let this video guide you:

Proceed with caution. For now Mallers maintains the Beta solution isn’t ready for a mainnet launch just yet. Any attempt to transfer cryptocurrency through the Beta app can result in a loss of funds and backlog the apps developers in continuing to make progress.

What Is Lightning Network?

The Lightning Network allows for the scaling of bitcoin transactions and a dramatic increase of payment speed through the use of smart contracts. This is all done away from the blockchain initially so there’s no need to worry about block confirmation times.

This means payments can now be made without custodians, making Lightning Network a much more scalable and sustainable solution for the long term. It has the potential to handle billions of transactions.

It will also be possible to make transactions between different chains as long as the chains can support the same cryptographic hash functions. This again eliminates the need for third parties to be involved in signing off on a transaction.

If you want to dive deeper into the technicalities of the Lightning Network, take a look at the whitepaper and PowerPoint presentations available. Or watch this handy explanation:

Progress Being Made

A Reddit user hinted just a week ago that they have successfully completed the first purchase of physical goods on the Lightning Network. This comes less than four months after developers at Blockstream used testnet coins to complete one of the very first transactions on the network.

Now that testing is well underway and real BTCs are being exchanged, Zap aims to be the next step in Lightning Network’s progression. It makes sense given that the original Lightning Network demo features a lot of command line coding that non-programmer friendly bitcoin users will undoubtedly be confused by:

Still, Mr. Mallers and the rest of the LN open-source community warn that the kinks still need to be worked out before it can be widely used. Try it out but exercise caution. Don’t use real coins just yet.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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