Welcome to the 40th edition of Latest Strikes, your weekly recap of all the great things happening in the Lightning ecosystem. With 4 issues a month, it means we've now been covering the Lightning news together for ten consecutive months. Quite a tumultuous, yet pleasant journey, am I right? And, without further ado, let's see what happened in Lightning last week!
Strike Infrastructure Update
Strike now has its own infrastructure both for Bitcoin custody and banking integration. This notably means that Strike no longer relies on any third party when it comes to safeguarding their users bitcoins, both on-chain and on Lightning. The company keeps most of the funds in cold storage, while keeping enough on Lightning and hot wallets to accommodate "customers’ immediate transactional needs".
On top of better security, autonomy and transparency for the user and Strike itself, this update also enables Strike to offer new features: users can now choose to use either their cash or Bitcoin balance to pay Lightning invoices, as well as decide to receive incoming payments either as cash or bitcoin.
Zebedee fully embraced the Nostr life last week with the alpha release of a social media platform right into the ZBD app. For those unfamiliar, the ZBD mobile app is a Lightning wallet which integrates with mobile games powered by Zebedee's Lightning infrastructure. This new social platform will use Nostr as backbone, with a unified bitcoin balance between games and social media. In other words, you'll be able to use the sats you won playing games such as SatuRobi to zap your friends. Oh, and it comes with end-to-end encrypted private chat, too!
Lightning data company Amboss launched a new metric called LINER. LINER stands for "Lightning Network Rate" and is, as the name implies, a measure of the rate at which liquidity can be bought or sold on the Lightning Network in the form of channels. Available for users of the Alpha plan (which sells at $80 a month), this index is comprised of two metrics: the LINER Cost and the LINER Yield, and uses Amboss' Magma marketplace as the source of its data.
The LINER Cost is the capacity-weighted average annual rate that it costs to buy a channel on Magma, while the LINER Yield is the capacity-weighted average annual yield that channel sellers receive in exchange of their liquidity. This indices are calculated across all channel sizes and durations, and can hence serve as indicators of the price of liquidity on Lightning over the last year (52,560 blocks). A 3% LINER Cost means it cost on average 30,000 sats to buy 1,000,000 sats of liquidity during 1 year, while a 2% LINER Yield means that the same 1,000,000 sats sold as channels on the Magma marketplace brought on average 20,000 sats of revenue over the year. The difference between Cost and Yield comes from channel opening and closing fees, which are paid by the seller of the channel and hence deducted from the price at which the channels sells.
This kind of indices are key to an effective liquidity market, where both sides can try to estimate the cost of capital based on past data. For example, companies looking to use Lightning as a payment network can look at the LINER Cost index to assess whether Lightning is competitive with the rails they're currently using ; while liquidity providers can more easily decide whether to allocate their funds to Lightning channels, or to another end, using the LINER Yield metric. Moreover, given Lightning channels are 2-of-2 multisignature contracts, they don't entail any counterparty risk, and the LINER Yield can hence be interpreted as a risk-free rate of return on bitcoins. Such rates are very important in traditional finance, as they are the ones against which all other rates are compared. For LINER to gain such significance would probably require taking into account more data than just the Magma marketplace, as well as more liquidity to be deployed on Lightning altogether, but that's definitely an interesting first step toward an agreed-upon risk-free rate for Bitcoin capital.
Some News From BTC Prague
I was in Prague for BTC Prague last week, and the least I can say is it was a blast! Kudos to the organizers, and a big thanks to all the cool people I met there! There were some Lightning news out there, with Mash presenting their custodial wallet app, which enables easy and seamless interaction with Mash-powered websites on the same phone. Just set a budget, and tipping an article on your phone's browser only takes one tap: no need to switch app, no need to confirm the payment, etc. This, as many of Mash's products, helps reduce the transactional friction, thus reducing the mental cost of micropayments.
I also got the chance to see a demo of the new customer-facing Lipa wallet! Lipa is well-known (especially in Germany and Switzerland, but not only) for its business-facing wallet which enables merchant to accept Bitcoin and Lightning payments in their shop, and they're now closing the circle with a non-custodial mobile Lightning wallet which has all the features we love, and even more with the ability to buy bitcoin straight from the wallet ; as well as the integration of BTC Map to see where Lightning is accepted. Cool!
Wallets & Tools
Greenlight Opens To Developers
Greenlight is now open to developers! Blockstream just open sourced their Greenlight client, which allows developers to integrate Lightning into their app with nothing more than API calls. As we already covered in previous issues, Greenlight is designed to allow application developers to easily onboard their users to Lightning: each user gets its own Core Lightning node running "in the cloud", while private keys remain on the user's device, which acts as a signer when required.
If you're a developer looking into bringing Lightning to your product, you can grab a Greenlight invite here, and just get started.
Some Wallets Updates
We got some wallet updates last week! In no particular order:
- Wallet of Satoshi version 2.2.2 brought contacts list, automatic payment for zaps, as well as the ability to set a custom @walletofsatoshi.com Lightning Address for users who created an account and transacted enough both on Lightning and on-chain (I assume that those requirements are meant to prevent Lightning Address squatting) ;
- BitKit got a big update with many bug fixes and improvements, including managing transaction tags (e.g. labelling transactions), better error handling, and enhanced user guidance when it comes to deploying funds on Lightning amidst high on-chain fees ;
- BitMask v0.6-beta brings support for RGB 0.10 assets, enhanced security, and the ability to switch between networks. That's right, mainnet is now available on BitMask!
Spec & Implems
Core Lightning Bug Fixes
Core Lightning also shipped some bug fixes last week with version 23.05.1. It addresses several crashes that were spotted after the release of the 23.05, as well as a regression on interoperability with LND which prevented Core Lightning users from opening unannounced channels with LND users. This is hence a recommended upgrade for anyone running 23.05.
D'une adroite manière, en tordant quelque peu
Des bouts de vérités qui n'en sont qu'à moitié
Et répandant ailleurs de bien piètres essais
Il semble que l'on puisse avoir publicité.
Il faut bien que chacun y trouve un intérêt
De l'annonceur docile au lecteur fourvoyé
Et parfaisant le tout, imprimons ce feuillet
Sur du beau papier rose au teint acidulé.
Ainsi quand reposant l'ouvrage consommé
Le lecteur averti, quelque peu barbouillé
Voudra remettre en ordre un intestin brouillé,
Il aura sous la main de quoi se rhabiller.
Keep in mind that on Nostr private messages often leak metadata: no one can decrypt the message itself, but everyone can see who talks to whom. However, depending on how private messages are implemented in the ZBD app, more or less metadata may be leaked to relays. ↩︎