Lightning Labs has taken one step closer to bringing Lightning Network payments to mobile with the launch of the Lightning App for iOS and Android in alpha on the Bitcoin main net. It follows the recent launch of the Lightning App on desktop, bringing the total number of operating systems supported by the program to five.
Lightning Network is a second layer scaling solution aimed at reducing the number of transactions burdening the Bitcoin blockchain. It seeks to provide almost instant, free transactions and once fully tested, the launch of the mobile-facing application will allow more users than ever to get to grips with the technology.
Lightning App Brings Bitcoin Micropayments to iOS and Android
The Bitcoin scaling solution known as Lightning Network is having a great 2019 thus far. Already, the micropayments network has received considerable exposure from the cryptocurrency community and beyond thanks the publicity-gathering stunt, the Lightning Torch; had Twitter’s founder and CEO singing its praises; and has had its first desktop application recently deployed for it.
The latest piece of positive news from Lightning Labs, one of the main groups of developers contributing code to the project, is the launch of its Lightning App on the Bitcoin main net for iOS and Android mobile devices. The announcement, made today via a Lightning Labs blog post, makes it the first main net app with iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux support.
We’ve released the mainnet alpha of our Lightning Mobile App for iOS & Android, the first on all major platforms! ⚡️📲
— Lightning Labs⚡️ (@lightning) June 19, 2019
The post details the major considerations Lightning Labs took when creating its first mobile-facing applications – amongst the most important of these was user interface design.
The team are well aware that there are currently hurdles standing in the way of a seamless user experience with both Bitcoin and Lightning Network. With this in mind, the application was designed to make onboarding new, maybe slightly less technical users as easy as possible.
Naturally, huge import has also been given to user security. By sandboxing the applications, Lightning Labs claims to have made the apps even more secure than their desktop counterparts. They also use the features of the hardware on devices themselves to make the applications even less vulnerable to compromise. Currently, the private key of iOS users is password protected and encrypted on the iPhone’s Secure Enclave. There is currently no working Android equivalent, although there are plans to support advanced hardware such as the Pixel 3’s Titan M security Module in a similar fashion.
Although the launch of the Lightning App on mobile is certainly an exciting day for Bitcoin and its second layer scaling solution, Lightning Labs has warned users to exercise caution when using the app. The Lightning Network itself and any applications built on top of it are still in very early stages of development. Users wanting to experiment with either the app or the network are advised to only do so with money that they are comfortable with losing.
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