Blockstream, the blockchain development company that offers several blockchain products like the blockchain satellite, has released an upgraded version of their own take on the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
The upgrade to Blockstream’s Lightning implementation, called c-lightning, was announced via the company’s blog. It brings several improvements to the protocol, including performance improvements and bug fixes.
The most salient feature of the upgrade is the support for plug-ins. This means that developers can now build their own applications on top of the Lightning Network.
The team’s description of the new feature is as follows:
Plug-ins further strengthen our commitment to becoming the most flexible, extensible, and customizable implementation of the Lightning Network specification. They enable us to stay focused on the core functionality, while at the same time empowering users and developers to add their own functionality to integrate c-lightning into their environment.
According to Blockstream, plug-in development will be easier to get into and more accessible than ever before:
While extensibility and customizability, along with performance and security, have always been our primary goals, until now users had to write fully-fledged daemons in order to add simple functionality or make small changes. This changes dramatically with the introduction of plug-ins.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Blockstream engineer Christian Decker spoke of how easy it would be for developers, “If you can write ‘hello world,’ you can write a plugin for c-lightning.” Plug-ins written in C, Go and Python are supported.
Another interesting feature that has been developed is “routeboost”, which essentially allows payments to be made through private channels.
The team has been working hard for over 8 months to deliver this upgrade, and developers from all over the world have contributed to the effort.
The Lightning Network is seen as the precursor to Bitcoin’s golden moment of becoming a globally viable payment system. Lightning development and growth in recent months has been good, as are the results of it being tested in the field.