Renting payment channels in Bitcoin is already possible in this Lightning Network client

A developer released the version alpha software that enables nodes using the Core Lightning Network (CLN, formerly known as c-lightning) client to offer zero-cost hosted channels.

Under the name “Poncho”, allusive to the clothing of South American communities, this new software enables this function. It should be noted that the channels hosted or hosted channels (HC) are an extension within the lightning protocol that already exists. Poncho would only enable the extension for CLN nodes.

At the moment, according to Explain Its creator, who goes under the pseudonym of Fiatjaf and is a developer for the Zebedee company, the protocol will be able to connect with mobile wallets of the Lightning network. During the time it is in version alphait will only be compatible with Simple Bitcoin Wallet.

The developer invites everyone to help with testing. According to him, so far it has routed over 600 payments through hosted channels without any errors.

Free channels, but under a trust scheme

To open a Lightning channel in the traditional way, two nodes are required to sign a transaction that will be confirmed within the Bitcoin network. In the case of hosted payment channels, as its name indicates, are channels that are “hosted” in a node, and not require no confirmation. This allows them to be spawned at 0 cost.

Nevertheless, its use requires a certain level of trust between nodes, since only one of the nodes will be the one who will keep the funds. Of course the protocol does not allow BTC to be easily stolen. Although these are hosted channels, closing said channel must declare the funds within the Bitcoin network, and the node that receives an attack can appeal the arbitrary closure.

It should be noted that CLN —maintained by the company Blockstream— is not the first client to use this technology. According to pick up the Simple Bitcoin Wallet portal, so far there are 4 clients (ergvein.net, SATM, lntxbot.com and Motherbase) using hosted channels.

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