Lightning and Hive: same same but different?

@brianoflondon
1 mo (edited)
5 Min Read
1045 words

There's an "English" expression in common use here in Israel and I don't know if it came from Thailand or Israelis took it there first. I put English in quote marks because this isn't really English:

Same same but different


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Hive and Bitcoin Lightning are "same same but different". You can have a wallet, there are units of value that appear to be "in it" and can be exchanged for things of value... but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Message at the end as to why you need to vote on Proposal 188.

Hive and Lightning are very different

And both have different strengths and weaknesses. First I'll tell you what Lightning is very good at.

Lightning Strengths

  • spinning up a temporary, low value wallet on a mobile device is trivial. Behind the scenes there is a huge amount of complexity over control and ownership of the keys but most users simply don't care. Apps like Wallet of Satoshi, Sphinx, Breeze, Zap are all variously easy to load with sats and send sats from.
  • via some API's from services like LNPay, the new Podcasting 2.0 apps have built lightning functionality into their products relatively easily. Users only deposit small amounts, $10 to $20 in their Podcast Wallet, security isn't a big deal, this isn't your life savings. When you've spent it you top it up.
  • Because wallets are easy to spin up and low value, most of the time you don't care who holds the keys. It's just not that big of a deal.
  • Could Twitter give every user on Twitter a Lightning wallet? Yes, they could, the KYC issues would be their headache, and of course, where does "your" money go when they ban you for wrong think? But yes, Lightning could do this.
  • Privacy: crypto nerds can argue some of the fine details, but payments within the network are hard to trace if you don't have access to both ends. If Lightning could handle big transactions, the money launderers would love it, as it is, fortunately, it is pretty useless for moving big bucks publicly.

Keep Breeze Open

Lightning Weaknesses

  • Lightning is not a blockchain: it's a layer 2 on top of Bitcoin.
  • Doing lightning "properly" requires a full Bitcoin node holding and verifying every Bitcoin transaction (450gb and growing on an SSD) and operating online running 24x7.
  • Receiving Bitcoin is an interactive process: only if you have a full node can this happen in the background. Take a look at the screen from the Breez app, notice how it advises to "keep Breez open until the payment is complete". That payment address is an ephemeral invoice which has to be paid within a certain time and Breez is doing some magic behind the scenes to make sure you get that payment.
  • Moving funds from BTC into Lightning and back involves a full, expensive, on-chain Bitcoin transaction. There is no way around this. There are batching services that make this cheaper (Loop from Lightning Labs does this) but the mechanics are again, hard to explain.
  • Even the best full custodial, run your own node software (my choice) of Umbrel, carries a scary warning right on the first page on Github: "Umbrel is currently in beta and is not considered secure. Please see SECURITY for more details". Mostly this is down to poor internal security within the node itself which is hidden behind Tor, but if anyone or anything is inside your home network, it's pretty easy to empty an Umbrel.

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Accordingly I only have enough Bitcoin and Lightning on my node to do what I'm doing, no more. As the @v4vapp service grows I'll have to invest more in it, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Hive Strengths

  • Hive is a blockchain with zero fees. Your funds on Hive are as secure as the entire network is (which is to say much more secure since we dumped our pre-mine and closed down avenues of Sybil attack.
  • You can receive Hive while you're asleep without running anything!
  • Your keys, your tokens, your account and your stake gives you a say in the future of the network.
  • It's your place to hang out and your network of friends.

https://twitter.com/brianoflondon/status/1430046389317382146

Hive Weaknesses

  • Making disposable accounts is a very bad idea for Hive. This is why creating accounts actually costs Hive (just ask @splinterlands how much they're spending right now).
  • Because a Hive account has meaningful value, and even more once it is your online presence, you would be very wary of giving some random app the ability to "stream" payments from your main account. I would never give my main Hive active key to an app so I could send streaming payments. Apps could develop a custodial model for this, but Lightning does have some significant multi-signature advantages.

Together they're strong

Which all leads me back to why I'm currently building the bridge between Hive and Lightning and why I need YOUR help and YOUR vote. Even if you're not a big whale, I want you to vote, I want the community voice and numbers. I haven't spoken directly to some people who did vote on @podping, but expect to do that soon. I want to carry the weight of the community that Hive and Lightning belong together.

I have the basic @v4vapp system working (it's working now) but I really will need the help to allow it to be run by others and to decentralise it. I do not want to be the single point of failure in this.


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