One of Bitcoin's main problems has always been the possibility of expanding the network, which has led to an increase in transaction costs but also in confirmation time. Other cryptos have tried to replace the BTC based precisely on its weaknesses. Nevertheless the Bitcoin community has been working on a solution since 2015, the Lightning Network.
What is the Lightning Network?
The basic idea behind the Lightning Network is that you can create small "two-way payment channels" that allow you to record off-Blockchain transactions. This channel can remain open for an indefinite time and only the final balance will be recorded on the Bitcoin Blockchain. The transactions are carried out by means of smart contracts in order to secure them. In addition, these "two-way payment channels" can be used to transfer Bitcoins to one of the two creators of the channel. The Lightning Network will also make it possible to carry out transactions between different blockchains even if the consensus methods are different.
The Lightning Network will therefore make small payments virtually instantaneous not only for Bitcoin but also for other major cryptos such as LTC, XLM, ETH and Ripple.
For the moment, only a beta version has been launched but a lot of work still needs to be done before this technology revolutionizes the Blockchain industry!