Bitcoin Lightning network is a second layer network not a sidechain, Mastering Bitcoin author


Andreas Antonopoulos, the author of Mastering Bitcoin and a well-known Bitcoin proponent spoke about whether the Lightning network is a sidechain or a second layer.

Antonopoulos started by speaking about the Lightning network, stating that is a second layer network and not a sidechain. He elucidated that the second-layer is mechanism for transmitting payments off-chain with the help of the underlying blockchain for security. He stated:

“It allows you to route through payment channels, which are smart contracts using multi-sig and time delays. It allows you to transfer [small amounts of] bitcoin… between two participants, without [needing] to record it on the blockchain [until settlement or there is a dispute].”

The author further added that there is no need for the two participants to trust anyone else. This is because Bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain, is the “basis of trust and security”. He continued to say that the Lightning network can also be used as a multi-currency routing network.

Antonopoulos said:

” You can have nodes that are participating in Lightning with Bitcoin, or nodes that run Litecoin. Theoretically you could have nodes that run Ethereum or [other compatible blockchains].”

This was followed by the Bitcoin proponent speaking about the pre-requisites for a blockchain to be Lightning compatible, stating that they are fundamental security functions including multi-sig, time delay and a transaction malleability fix. He stated that with multi-sig and time delay, hashed timelock contract can be implemented, building block for routed payment channels. He said:

“Theoretically, you could use it… to connect side chains to each other. Today, in fact, you can transmit a Lightning payment [with] bitcoin, and the recipient [will get] Litecoin, which is another blockchain, because both of them are Lightning compatible.”

Antonopoulos stated that because of this, Litecoin and Bitcoin have become sidechains of each other, adding that the Lightning Network acting as the smart contract layer that connected them.

Mattfm101, a Youtuber said:

“Lighting is amazing, when the next rally happens people won’t be turned off by the slow transaction speed”

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