Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Strike has an intriguing new cashback program. They’re taking the credit card processing fees and giving a portion back to the user, not unlike a lot of credit card points programs, except they’re doing so with cash. The incentives are more on the spending Bitcoin via the lightning side, but this may lead consumers to keep their money in BTC and spend as needed this way to earn cashback.
Lightning Labs has released 0.11, which includes Wumbo channels! Lightning channels have been limited as a result of the software being alpha. It seems the engineers at Lightning Labs felt confident enough in its security to enable larger channels. This is great news for Lightning as bigger channels will allow for more liquidity and better routing.
Watchtowers Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, nodes won't always be online. To solve this issue, a client can hire a watchtower. A watchtower is a third party service that monitors the blockchain and responds to channel breaches on your behalf. The Watchtower protocol is specified
Lightning Loop (previously Submarine Swaps)
A service that gets your funds in and out of the lightning network easily.
Loop is a service and software that enables users to quickly, cheaply, and easily transfer bitcoin from the lightning network to the bitcoin network and vice-versa. lightning Loop is specific to LND, but similar services do exist elsewhere. This feature allows functionality such as closing a lightning channel to any on-chain address
Authentication and Payments for the lightning-Native Web.
lightning Service Authentication Tokens are admission tickets to a service or website in exchange for payment. So instead of registering for a service and paying by credit card, you can simply pay over the lightning network and gain access to the item you want to use. This allows users to authenticate with a service without requiring the user to sign up for and maintain an account.
A standard built on top of lightning to improve the user flow.
LNURL is an additional layer of standards on top of the protocol that simplifies using the lightning network. Many lightning-enabled wallets support at least some of these standards. Some of the LNURL standards are:
LNURL-auth generates a key from your wallets seed, and from that seed it generates a new key for each service or website you try to authenticate with. This provides you with a new identity for each site you use without having to sign up.
An LNURL withdrawal is a request to transfer sats from one lightning wallet to another. This means an invoice does not need to be manually created, sent, and then paid. These process steps can be embedded into a simple LNURL-withdraw link or QR code. In addition, time can be added to this scheme so that a direct debit or ACH equivalent can be built using this technology.
Get paid without an invoice.
Keysend allows you to send money between two online nodes, without requiring an invoice. Keysend is also known as 'non-interactive money sends' and was previously named Sphinx send in LND. lightning Labs developer Joost Jager spoke at the Advancing Bitcoin conference 2020 about some of the in-protocol applications that are possible as a result of Keysend Multi-part payments (MPP)
Optimized payment routing. Normally a node must hold the same amount you will send. But what if a node can't handle large transactions because lack of Bitcoins in? MPP solves that problems by splitting a tx into parts and send these parts over different nodes.
Multi-part payments allow you to send a given amount to a node, with that amount being split across multiple routing paths. This solves the issue of a sender who has enough liquidity in total, but none of their channels can carry the payment amount. All major lightning implementations have now implemented MPP.