The Lightning Network — a second-layer payment protocol enabling instant transactions at almost zero cost between participating nodes — is actually an altcoin, according to Edge CEO, Paul Puey.
‘It’s one of the most different altcoins’
According to Edge, a multi-asset blockchain wallet and security platform, Lightning Network — a second-layer payment protocol operating on top of Bitcoin’s blockchain and enabling instantaneous transactions — isn’t actually that. Rather, from the company’s point of view, the Lightning Network is an altcoin. (You just have to change the definition.)
Explained Edge’s William Swanson in a livestream:
Lightning, from my point of view, is actually an altcoin. It’s an alternative chain. It’s an alternative consensus mechanism that just happens to be tied back to Bitcoin. From every point of view — it’s got different address formats, it’s got different wallets, it’s got different way of transacting, different constraints, different servers you connect to — everything that matters in terms of technology, it is a different system.
“Actually, it’s one of the most different altcoins,” Paul Puey, Edge’s CEO, agreed. “It’s as drastically different as possible.” (It’s so drastically different, in fact, one could argue it’s not even an altcoin at all!)
Swanson then continues to explain his reasoning, which is where things really start to get questionable. He states:
It has a one-to-one monetary peg with the price of Bitcoin. So if I have one bitcoin and I put that into a Lightning channel, the price of that Lightning channel is going to go up and down with the price of bitcoin one-to-one. Monetarily it’s actually the same. Technologically, it’s a completely different coin.
Skeptical? You’re not the only one.
After the livestream ended, noted XRP and Bitcoin Cash proponent Tiffany Hayden invited feedback on Twitter — which was promptly received by some notable figures in the cryptocurrency space.
I look forward to you figuring out how to counter these points:pic.twitter.com/OPw6cl7Tvb
— Tiffany Hayden (@haydentiff) April 7, 2018
Lightning Network developer Elizabeth Stark noted that “different payment methods don’t mean different currencies,” and reasoned that likening the second-layer solution to an altcoin is no different than calling one’s USD checking account an altcoin to one’s savings account, or calling one’s USD debit card an altcoin to one’s credit card.
Bitcoin entrepreneur Alistair Milne meanwhile shared his own thoughts on Edge’s comments.
Funniest joke I've heard this week: Lightning is an altcoin 🤣#bitcoin
— Alistair Milne (@alistairmilne) April 8, 2018
Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, on the other hand, claimed “Lightning is unforgeable forever-redeemable gold certificates to Bitcoin’s gold [and] also unforgeable forever-redeemable silver certificates to Litecoin’s silver,” while Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer asked his Twitter followers:
Wait, Lightning is an altcoin now? Wen moon?!
Puey tried his best to justify the questionable statements made during his company’s livestream, but ultimately just conceded to a difference in definitions, responding:
This industry is dynamically changing and new paradigms appearing. Words are being created and redefined and that’s to be expected. If a strong case can be made for the altered definition then so be it.
Of course, the possibility exists that the existing definitions are sufficiently accurate as they are and that he and Swanson are simply incorrect — but that’s for you to decide.
Do you think Lightning Network is an altcoin, or do you think the folks at Edge simply got this one wrong? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Twitter/@haydentiff