The developers over at Stellar, the sixth biggest digital currency in the world has announced the first rungs of a second layer payments system which could potentially open the door for instantaneous off-chain settlements without fees. In a recent post on Medium, Interstellar revealed their first demo for Starlight, a Lightning Network for the Stellar Lumens digital currency. This move puts Stellar on the same path as Litecoin and Bitcoin who have also looked into the off-chain payments as redemption for their longer block times and growing fees. In place of paying fees for several payments, users that use off chain payment rials can escrow their funds in a multi-signature wallet, allowing many transactions in several directions for only a single set of fees. In the Medium post, Dan Robinson from Interstellar said:
“Normally, making a payment on a network like Stellar involves publishing details of the payment to all observers, paying a small fee, and waiting for the network to reach consensus and confirm the payment.”
He continues to say:
“A payment channel, on the other hand, uses the network to lock up some funds for use by the channel’s participants. They may then pay each other these funds without further involving the network. Such payments are thus private, instant, and free.”
It was previously reported by Crypto Briefing that the system gets more complicated when there are over two users involved.
“Multi-hop payments have proven to be the Achilles’ heel of the Lightning Network, causing long delays and unexpected complications.”
Currently, the design for Starlight is only meant for a two-party settlement but the blog post indicates that this is just the first step of many.
“Starlight payment channels are analogous to the Bitcoin payment channels used in the Lightning Network. As we extend the Starlight project to support not only payment channels but also multi-hop payments across those channels, we plan to build in compatibility with other payment-channel networks, such as Lightning and Interledger.”
Despite all this, it’s probably the right to pop the champagne. The testnet demo isn’t very practical and has limited use and developers have even warned about bugs and incompatible updates. Fanatics of Starlight probably won’t stop dreaming of a future where payments are fast, smooth, and effective. What are your thoughts? Let us know what you think down below in the comments!