Let's Get Ready to Wumbo!

Wumbo-sized Lightning Labs news, ecosystem updates and investments, and a breakdown of the Streaming Economy

Welcome to the second edition of the Lightning Lab, a newsletter filled with Lightning Network updates, community coverage, and, of course, memes!

In this issue, we're hitting your inbox with Wumbo-sized Lightning Labs news, ecosystem updates and investments, and a breakdown of the streaming economy.

Read on, and remember, sharing is caring:


Let’s Get Ready to WUMBOOOO!

With the release of lnd 0.11-beta at the end of last month, we now support Wumbo, channels over the 0.1677 BTC limit that was originally imposed by LN implementations to dissuade users from putting too much money into early software. Shipping Wumbo in lnd v0.11-beta is a sign that the software has progressed to a point where advanced users, companies, and node operators can opt in to larger channels. 

For the uninitiated, the name “Wumbo” was inspired by SpongeBob, who flipped the “M” on Mermaid Man’s Small Ray upside down in an attempt to reverse its effect. A Lightning engineer dubbed Lightning’s larger channels Wumbo at a 2018 developer summit in Australia. Due to the summit's Chatham House Rule the SpongeBob stan remains unnamed, but let's just say Krabby patties aren’t their preferred type of sandwich…

Up until now, you could always use Lightning to feed chickens; one at a time for 1,000 sats thanks to Pollofeed. But now, with Wumbo, you can buy the whole coup!

The Lightning community responded to the news with enthusiasm, memes, and upgrades.

Our friends at Breez wrote a great explainer for what Wumbo and Multi-Path Payments mean for Lightning, and spoiler alert: they’re excited. 

In other news, we’ve never seen people so excited about accounting as we did with last week’s Faraday release. We’ve added full accounting reports to the suite of tools for lnd to help users #tracksats.

Between Wumbo and Faraday, we expect more and more companies (like Bitaroo!) to follow in NiceHash’s footsteps and enable Lightning for their users. 

News & Updates

Lightning Ecosystem

LN Markets announced their initial fundraise from Bitfinex, Fulgur Ventures, and Arcane Crypto. They have exceeded $10M in aggregate trading volume since launching, and are pioneering Lightning UX for traders. Congrats to the team!

Fold continues their electric rise to prominence, first by becoming one of the most connected nodes in the Lightning Network, only to one-up themselves by announcing they were one of the fastest growing startups using Stripe. Making it rain sats must be good for business.

BlueWallet had a “monster release 🔥” that made their desktop app available on the App Store. This release included hardware wallet integration, multiple wallets, transaction control, and many other new features. Check out their top downloads by country for the month of August — it is clear that Lightning is a global phenomenon.

In other news:

  • ☂️ Umbrel, a one-stop-shop Bitcoin and Lightning node with a user-friendly UI launched their beta. The barrier to entry for running your own node keeps getting lower and lower.

  • ⚡ Ride the Lightning, a Lightning node management app, announced their v0.9.0 release which enables multi-path payments support for their LND users. The more clients that implement this feature, the easier liquidity management gets for the rest of the network.

  • ⛈️ Zeus, not to be outdone by RTL, released v0.3.1 of their mobile Bitcoin/Lightning app for node operators. This release also enabled multi-path payment support, and is available on Google Play, Apple iOS TestFlight, and F-Droid.

  • 🌩️ ThunderHub, an up-and-coming advanced channel management tool, released its latest version which added native ln-pay and ln-withdraw URLs. MyNode, another user-friendly one-stop-shop Bitcoin and Lightning node, recently added it to its suite of applications for node owners. 

  • 🏙️ Scarce.City launched their Club Lit community marketplace and immediately got it moving with a takeover of Satoshis.Place. The memes alone are worth the price of admission! 

  • 🛰️ Spacebox is crowdfunding for a Proof of Concept solar-powered Lightning Node for the African market and is over 90% of the way there. We love to see new Lightning communities popping up around the world and focusing on running nodes. 

  • 📈 Coindesk wrote about how August was a banner month for the Lightning Network, as the number of public nodes grew by the largest monthly percentage since April 2018 and the largest absolute number of nodes ever.

  • 🎮 BTC Times highlighted The Top 5 Lightning Games in 2020. Secret sources tell us that the monthly MintGox showcase for Lightning Games has more than 30xed their attendance over the last few months. Watch this space!

  • 🥽 Magical Crypto Conference VR is the first Bitcoin conference that will take place entirely in a virtual reality setting, and it’s coming on September 25-26! Desiree Dickerson and Alex Bosworth from our team will be speaking on panels.

Want to get involved? Join the LND Developer Community on Slack.

The Streaming Economy

Enabling Wumbo was our signal to the rest of the world that the Lightning Network is ready for the next step in its evolution. We've been working hard to get to this point, so let's treat ourselves to some aspirational thinking.

Fast forward in time: imagine a world where Lightning nodes are as ubiquitous as the TCP/IP driver — in every mobile phone, laptop, desktop, router, and network switch in the world. 

Imagine that every one of these devices can send/receive payments, authenticate themselves, and send end-to-end encrypted messages, all autonomously, without a trusted third party.

Imagine the Streaming Economy:

  • Microearning - End users are earning a continuous stream of satoshis. App-based micro-incentives, royalties from popular online content and interest on leased out Bitcoin, compute, storage, and bandwidth will all continuously be accruing. Basic microtasks like tagging pictures to train AI will be available to all, and microtasks requiring more trust (e.g. grocery delivery) will be available to those willing to put up a bond.

  • Micropayments - Microearning will eliminate the friction that has historically held up micropayments. Upvotes will cost a satoshi, downloading large files quickly will cost several satoshis, every digital interaction will have a tiny cost that users will pre-approve from their micro-earned balance.

  • Private messaging - Private, end-to-end messaging applications with no backdoors will be the default because they will finally have a business model other than advertisements. Different clients will interoperate using self-sovereign LN pubkeys, making the Lightning Network itself a grassroots, self-organizing social graph available for all to build on.

  • Dynamic wireless telecom - Smartphone OS’s will decide in real-time what the most cost effective medium for transmitting data will be between numerous wireless options. Lightning will finally provide an incentive for installing mesh networking hardware and for solving the last-mile internet problem. 

  • Data vendors - Clean datasets for any number of things (weather, pricing, sports statistics, translation data, etc.) will be a monetizable commodity via rate-limited APIs. Trading bots will need to pay for this data consistently in order to keep pace with the competition. Downloads will be permissionless but freemium, version control will be implemented, and real-time local updates (aka oracles) will be the premium tier service.

  • #LiFi - Lightning Finance will leverage Bitcoin as its high-powered collateral. The proliferation of public, paid oracles will mean non-custodial CFD exchanges that use the blockchain as a central clearinghouse will abound. Any user will be able to get exposure to any asset as long as the oracles exist with Bitcoin as collateral.

This glimpse into the future will be 10k sats, folks! 🔮

JK. This time it's free. We're looking forward to seeing the community build on these ideas and create a future powered by Lightning. ⚡

Lightning Labs News and Media

We’re very excited that Justin O’Brien has joined us as a Technical Product Manager! His passion for Bitcoin began during his tenure at Google, when he launched an internal course teaching the Bitcoin protocol. After Google, Justin did product management for both 21 Inc. and Coinbase. 

We have a new job posting up for a Lightning Infrastructure Engineer! Know a dev who loves Lightning and wants to build the future of financial infra? Send them our way. We’re also hiring for a Business Operations role.

In the media, our CEO Elizabeth Stark spoke at the #FutureProof Summit about bitcoin and Lightning in emerging markets and the importance of “leaderless revolutions”.

Laolu Osuntokun appeared on Stephan Livera’s podcast to discuss Wumbo, Loop, the Lightning Terminal, and much more. He also discussed how Lightning powers a new financial infrastructure at last weekend’s BlockDeFi Virtual Conference.

Laolu Osuntokun and Jamal James spoke on a panel at Black Blockchain Summit 2020 about Building On Lightning and Next Levels.

Carla Kirk-Cohen discussed the latest Lightning Network features and updates and what's to come on the Cryptoplaza webinar.

Jamal James joined Bitcoin Magazine’s #TechnicalTuesdays for a walkthrough of the Lightning Terminal. It’s LiT!

Alex Bosworth spoke on the Lightning Junkies podcast about Bos Scores, MPP, and more!

Our recent Wumbo release was covered in Bitcoin Magazine, the Block, Coindesk, and BTC Times.


Thanks for reading… share with your friends, and scan this QR code from your Lightning wallet to stack a few sats.💰