An unfortunate LN user claims to have lost 4 BTC after force-closing a channel using an older invalid state. Cue a cascade of alternately sardonic and sympathetic comments on the thread where redditor ZipoTm confessed their calamity.

The Lightning Network has long been touted by its proponents as a speedy, low-cost solution to Bitcoin’s scaling issues. A series of security scares and UX issues have called that vision into question however. The latest LN slip-up saw a user lose 4 BTC in one fell swoop.

Redditor Has a Lightning Nightmare

How did this travesty befall the hapless ZipoTm? Well, on Lightning, the distribution of funds occurs when a channel is closed, with the protocol deferring to the most recently signed balance sheet. Or as one redditor explained, “If you force close using an older invalid state, they can take the money while it’s timelocked if their node is online.”

At current prices, that mistake cost ZipoTm a cool $30,000. Force-closing on an open payment channel would have taken but a second, but the effects were irreversible and catastrophic. ZipoTm isn’t a tech newb, either, confessing “I’m working as a system administrator, have some server knowledge and I bet that everybody who has bigger nodes will face the same issues.”

Lightning Network User Confused By Protocol: Lost 30,000 USD

Lightning Strikes Twice

This is the second embarrassing issue to have beset the Lightning Network in as many months. September saw the disclosure of a hidden bug that allowed the spending of ‘fake’ coins on the network. The revelation prompted Bitcoin Unlimited’s Peter Rizun to chide: “Many people pointed out how LN channel balances were claims on real bitcoins, and not actually real bitcoins themselves, and that problems like this would surface. LN proponents retorted that it was impossible for channel balances to be unbacked. LN proponents were wrong.”

With the Lightning Conference having taken place in Berlin over the weekend, and given the recent release of lnd v0.8.0-beta, the LN brain trust must be alarmed by the timing of the latest disaster story. Even if ZipoTm was at fault, the tale proves that despite being ultra-quick, Lightning Network is not yet production-ready in any shape or form – and its developers will have their work cut out to restore confidence in the technology.

Roger Ver weighed in on the story, quoting a tweet from Lightning Network earlier this month warning users “Don’t put more money on Lightning than you’re willing to lose.” Perhaps the calmness which ZipTim exhibited suggests he was willing to lose $30k – but that seems a stretch. One redditor could scarcely accept the apparent apathy, writing: “Tell me that’s not your whole stack? I’d be nowhere near this calm.”

To fulfill its promise as Bitcoin’s scaling savior, more rigorous Lightning Network testing is required. However, it is not always possible to legislate for the carelessness of users. A fully-working Lightning Network would appear to be some way off, but lessons can be learned in the interim. Perhaps the most important is to avoid locking up a substantial amount of bitcoin in a technology which is far from flawless at this juncture.

LiquidApps Releases Horizontal Blockchain Scaling Solution

Blockchain development firm LiquidApps has introduced a new blockchain scalability solution for decentralized application (DApps) developers.

The new service called vCPU aims to scale blockchain processing power horizontally, which provides more computing power per action than native blockchains, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Oct. 14.

LiquidApps states that vertical blockchain scaling creates a barrier to entry for potential miners and block producers, as it requires the validation of nodes to add more capacity.

More power to developers

VCPU ostensibly allows developers to access a greater supply of decentralized computation as it tasks DApp service providers (DSPs) to read on-chain requests, perform processing and return results to the requesting DApp, which compares them on chain to remove incorrect data and prevent collusion.

One of the major features of vCPU is that it enables DApps to choose the level of trustlessness more appropriate and suitable for the requirements of a specific use case. LiquidApps names a range of potential examples of vCPU deployment, including tamper-resistant analyses of criminal evidence, securing data-based prediction models for elections, and unbiased distribution or partitioning of resources or land.

Achieving mass adoption

LiquidApps states in the release that “building DApps that are indistinguishable from traditional applications in terms of usability and speed is a prerequisite to mass adoption of blockchain technology.”

As Cointelegraph reported previously in a dedicated analysis, whether a user’s experience is joining a blockchain’s network, interacting with a DApp during a prime-time rush, or breaking out from a centralized walled garden, the experience must be intuitive in order to achieve mass-market adoption.

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