Lightning network is live on Bitcoin mainnet

Technical & Updates

The first implementation of Lightning Network is officially now in beta.

Announcing our first Lightning mainnet release, lnd 0.4-beta!
(Lightning Labs)

"lnd-0.4 beta is a huge accomplishment by many engineers, testers, and users around the world, but it’s the very beginning for the Lightning Network. As users begin to experiment with Lightning and as the network begins to grow, we’ll be working on a number of key infrastructure components that will contribute to the instant, user-friendly experience Lightning can bring to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies."

An explanation of how Lightning Network works by Lightning Labs Cofounder and CEO Elizabeth Stark can be found here. The benefits of Lightning can be found here.

Commentary from Ryan Shea, the founder of Blockstack

Commentary on the developments of Bitcoin in 2018 so far

Alex Bosworth demonstrating progress on swapping on Lightning

On the same day, Lightning Labs, the company behind the project, annnounced that it has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from Jack Dorsey, David Sacks, Jacqueline Reses of Square, Charlie Lee of Litecoin, Kevin Hartz of Everbrite, Ben Davenport of BitGo, and Vlad Tenev of Robinhood.

Lightning Labs just raised millions from Jack Dorsey and others to supercharge blockchain transactions
(TechCrunch, by Connie Loizos)

"It’s only truly developer friendly at this point. (You have to write command code to use it. Stark says a much friendlier user interface will be available down the road.) Stark also suggests that because the beta version is just being released that people only transact with the amount of money they might carry in their wallet."

Commentary on the fundraise from blockchain researcher Tuur Demeester

Decred sets its sights on decentralization in 2018
(Bitcoin Magazine, by Amy Castor)

"Decred’s most important project, by far, is its treasury system. Last year, Decred applied voting to unactivated consensus changes in the daemon. Similar to how soft forks get activated in Bitcoin, stakeholders in Decred vote by flipping a version bit in a block header. Once a majority threshold is reached, the new code activates automatically."

Decred project lead Jake Yocom-Piatt discusses 2018 roadmap. Reddit

Storj and Sia have second-layer applications experimenting zero-knowledge file sharing services on them.

Monero discussion thread on the privacy of Monero on large exchanges with Matthew Green, the lead scientist at ZCash company.

News & Commentary

Abra introduces world's first all-in-one cryptocurrency wallet and exchange
(Abra, by Bill Barhydt)

"Today, Abra announced support for 20 cryptocurrencies and 50 fiat currencies in a new version of our mobile app that includes a real-time exchange service across all 70 currencies. Users around the world can now buy, sell or store any of these 70 currencies within the Abra app and exchange between them at any time with no limitations. Abra is now the only all-in-one smartphone app in the world with these capabilities."

Commentary from Charlie Lee on Abra's product release

GrayKey iPhone unlocker poses serious security concerns
(Malwarebytes Labs, by Thomas Reed)

"In an interesting twist, the battle ended with the FBI dropping the case after finding a third party who could help. At the time, it was theorized that the third party was Cellebrite. Since then it has become known that Cellebrite— an Israeli company—does provide iPhone unlocking services to law enforcement agencies."

A cyberattack in Saudi Arabia had a deadly goal. Experts fear another try
(NYT, by Nicole Perlroth and Clifford Krauss)

"The attack was a dangerous escalation in international hacking, as faceless enemies demonstrated both the drive and the ability to inflict serious physical damage."

U.S. says Russian hackers targeted American energy grid
(Politico, by Tim Starks)

"'Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors ... targeted government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,' according to Thursday's joint alert, issued by the Homeland Security Department and the FBI."

Is big business really that bad?
(The Atlantic, by Robert D.Atkinson and Michael Lind)

"Even if small companies aren’t creating an outsize share of jobs, don’t we rely on them to power American innovation—to outfox complacent corporations with the kind of irreverent thinking that can only occur while wearing a hoodie? Despite the much-mythologized genius in the garage, the tech revolution owes far more to teams of scientists and engineers working in well-funded corporate labs than to college dropouts tinkering at home."

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