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Mastering the Lightning Network: A Second Layer Blockchain Protocol for Instant Bitcoin Payments

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Launched in early 2018, the Lightning Network (LN) is rapidly growing in users and capacity. This second-layer payment protocol works on top of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to provide near-instantaneous transactions between two parties. With this practical guide, authors Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Olaoluwa Osuntokun, and Rene Pickhardt explain how this advancement will enable the next level of scale for Bitcoin, increasing speed and privacy while reducing fees.

Ideal for developers, systems architects, investors, and entrepreneurs looking to gain a better understanding of LN, this book demonstrates why experts consider LN a critical solution to Bitcoin's scalability problem. You'll learn how LN has the potential to support far more transactions than today's financial networks, ushering in an era of global micro-transactions at sub-second resolution.

In several parts, this book examines:


The challenges of scaling blockchain technology and why the Lightning Network was invented
LN basics including wallets, nodes, and lightning payments
Lightning payment channels and how they work
Routing payments by constructing paths of payment channels from sender to recipient, including onion routing, and atomic multi-path payments
Lightning developments such as eltoo, Schnorr signatures, HODL invoices, JIT routing, channel splicing, and channel factories
Building applications on Lightning (Lapps)

350 pages, Paperback

Published October 12, 2021

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About the author

Andreas M. Antonopoulos

8 books596 followers
Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and well-respected figures in bitcoin. He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin”, published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin and “The Internet of Money”, a book about why bitcoin matters.

As an engaging public speaker, teacher and writer, Andreas makes complex subjects accessible and easy to understand. As an advisor, he helps startups recognize, evaluate, and navigate security and business risks. Andreas was also one of the first to use the phrase “The Internet of Money”, as early as 2013, to describe bitcoin as part of his speaking business.

As a bitcoin entrepreneur, Andreas has founded a number of bitcoin businesses and launched several community open-source projects. He is a widely published author of articles and blog posts on bitcoin, is a permanent host on the popular Let’s Talk Bitcoin Podcast, and a frequent speaker at technology and security conferences worldwide.

Andreas offers strategic consulting to a small number of crypto-currency companies that are aligned with his interests. He also offers expert witness testimony as an expert in the security, technical details and use of crypto-currencies, worldwide.

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Alex.
523 reviews28 followers
February 3, 2022
Very clearly presented, and at a useful level of detail -- enough to understand the general workings of the Lightning Network and a number of discrete mechanisms that it uses to facilitate various functionality, without drowning the reader in specifics (though guiding them towards appropriate resources for delving deeper if they should so choose). I had been eagerly waiting for a resource on LN in the vein of "Mastering Bitcoin" / "Mastering Ethereum" (both from one of this book's co-authors), and this absolutely delivered.
Profile Image for Mircea.
62 reviews7 followers
August 19, 2021
key takeaways: 1) to understand how lightning works you need to understand bitcoin first 2) lightning is orders of magnitude more complex 3) for a transaction to happen both nodes that are transacting need to be online 4) overall it looks very promising as it eliminates the transaction and block limits bitcoin has 5) it can also theoretically improve privacy.

Not sure that running a lightning node with the expectation of a profit is realistic. Also, running a node is not a set it and forget it type of situation (like it is for non-mining bitcoin nodes).
Profile Image for Warren Mcpherson.
193 reviews27 followers
April 17, 2022
This is a special book because it describes the technology of the second layer system for bitcoin.

The writing is for developers and has a reasonable degree of detail. It reviews the basic design and purpose of the network, the payment structure, path-finding, onion routing, settlement, channel funding and maintenance. I was particularly impressed by the balanced review of privacy and security.

This system has a bit of complexity and a strong technical is important for developing a deeper understanding of the Lightning Network itself as well as an intuition for other second layer networks.
Profile Image for Kaden Cho.
25 reviews1 follower
June 12, 2022
TL;DR all, good introduction to LN or how overall L2 layer system works.
10 reviews1 follower
December 17, 2022
Not a fan of Lightening, but this book has exactly the right level of detail. Useful read.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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