Pierre Rochard, the founder of New York-based independent firm Bitcoin Advisory, has released a new app in an effort to address the prevailing “inbound capacity” issue on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
As it stands, Bitcoin’s layer-two scaling solution the, Lightning Network, still faces inbound capacity problems, that is, not having a sufficient number of open channels with enough remote balance to receive payments. As such, users are still required to go over several steps before receiving money, further complicating the process of accepting funds for merchants using the network, as well as other participants in the global “lightning torch” experiment.
According to Rochard, the new Lightning Power Users app was developed in an effort to increase inbound capacity for users. Prior to the app’s release, other startups have also sought to address this prevailing issue, including Bitrefill’s Lightning Network channel-opening service Thor, as well as Lightning Labs’ recently-launched non-custodial service Lightning Loop.
While all the aforementioned services aim to provide a solution to the Lightning Network’s inbound capacity problem, Lightning Power Users takes a distinct approach by limiting the time an unused channel is kept open for users who prefer a short-lived channel for a smaller fee.
The development of the new app, according to Rochard, was also driven by growing concerns that such services may effectively make Bitcoin more centralized as other Lightning nodes significantly grow over time, adding that:
“I think what I want to see is a large variety of ways to do this. If we rely on just LNBIG or other services, then bitcoin’s not as decentralized. So, that’s my goal. To provide a reliable service.”
With the new Lightning app, users will no longer have to submit through Google Form to manually set up the channel as Lightning Power Users now automates this process.
Prior to the app’s launch, a number of users have already trialed the Lightning Power Users and has so far received positive feedback, with some claiming that the fee for the service was “reasonable.”
As Rochard noted:
“It’s one of the more legitimate criticisms of lightning. We’ll see where it goes. there’s healthy debate among developers about how to solve this issue.”
While the app effectively simplifies the Lightning setup process, Rochard believes that in time, developers will eventually find a way to completely hide the inbound capacity step. As Rochard posited, among the approach developers could possibly take would involve improving the Lightning Network’s autopilot feature, or employing machine learning as well as other modern computer science techniques.
An upcoming Lightning feature called dual-funded channels could also serve as a potential solution to the network’s inbound capacity issue, which were recently included to the specifications that will soon be applied to all Lightning implementations.
Until such specifications are enforced, Rochard plans to continue supporting his Lightning node launcher by using funds from Lightning Power Users.