Nic Carter & Pierre Rochard on the Economics of The Lightning Network

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To me, it is pretty staggering actually that Bitcoin has never had a real confirmed double spend.
— Nic Carter

Interview location: Skype
Interview date: Tuesday 9th April, 2019
Company: Nic - Castle Island Ventures | Pierre - Independent Bitcoin Advisor
Role: Nic - Partner | Pierre - Founder

The Lightning Network is a second layer scaling solution for Bitcoin, designed to maintain the security of the protocol while offering a new way for users to send and receive Bitcoin, ideally faster and cheaper.

The Lightning technology is new and essentially in a live beta where users are encouraged to test it out, but with small and limited amounts of Bitcoin, still, the capacity of the network is growing fast. As more users come onto the network and the capacity increases, users are finding areas which can be improved, and developers are working to implement upgrades.

Lightning is not the same as the base chain; the experience has differences which can take a little getting used to. At the moment, users have to create channels and be aware of the capacity of these channels. Further, the lightning network is intrinsically linked to the base chain, opening a channel creates a transaction, and therefore a fee and these fees may impact how people use Lightning.

The complexity is a reflection of how new Lightning is but it is improving all the time. In this interview I talk about the economics of the network with Nic Carter and Pierre Rochard, We discuss the fee market, the future of the block subsidy and whether base chain fees will lead to a two-tier Bitcoin.


00:02:58: Introductions
00:03:35: Debating the potential for a two tier Bitcoin in the future, due to Lightning implementation
00:07:59: Delving further into the trade offs between using Bitcoin and Lightning
00:15:57: Discussing the Bitcoin fee market and how this could exclude new users from the base layer
00:21:25: Moving funds onto Lightning to avoid increasing fees on Bitcoin’s base layer
00:23:00: The relationship between block size and fee market
00:26:41: Exploring how Lightning is complimentary to Bitcoin
00:30:17: Discussing ownership of coins and channels on Lightning
00:37:20: Are Pierre or Nic concerned by the complexity of Lightning for the end user?
00:41:03: Fees in Lightning and the potential need for “mega hubs” or inbound capacity services
00:46:24: Discussing the economic utilisation of Lightning for both individuals and “mega hubs”
00:49:38: Delving into expectation management of the Lightning network for the community.
00:54:03: Final comments on Bitcoin and Lightning



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