April 17, 2021

Developer suggests using Lightning Network for private messaging

Lightning Labs developer Joost Jager suggested besides fast and scalable payments Lightning Network for private messaging.

Jager introduced an experimental proof of the Whatsat concept - a version of the Lightning Network that can be used to send private messages. He noted:

“I like comparing private messages withpersonal communication. This freedom is so natural that we do not even realize how important it is. As we humans continue to digitize ourselves every day, I think it makes sense to expand this freedom into the digital domain. ”

Whatsat is Jager's own project, which he does outside of Lightning Labs. At the moment, the application is at an early stage of development.

Jager claims to be able to addadditional data to Lightning payments has always existed, however, a recent change in the Lightning Network specifications has standardized the operation of the embedded messaging system.

According to the developer, there are otherstechnologies that can be used to decentralize messaging, but the Lightning-based solution has some advantages that other applications do not have.

“Lightning is not the only waydecentralize messaging, but its advantage is that it also represents a payment network. Using any centralized or decentralized service costs money, and with Lightning it's easy to pay for it with a message. ”

Messaging platforms and socialIt’s difficult for networks to achieve “network effects,” so they become more useful as more people use them. But combining payments and messaging can help Lightning.

“The question is how many P2P networks do you want to participate in. The task is simplified if you get the opportunity to use the functions of payments and sending messages on the same network, ”said Jager.

Sending messages to Lightning is still free. Whatsat is based on the fact that no fee will be charged for a failed payment. According to Jager, the payment reaches the recipient who retrieves the message but does not accept the payment. However, it is unclear how commissions in the network will change if this idea is further developed.

“Now it’s difficult to assess what the actual costs of operating the routing node in the future will be,” said Jager.

According to public figures, Lightning payments currently cost an average of 0.0001 satoshi. The developer noted:

“Of course, there are people who are willing to pay forit, but at what price will it be possible for anyone? Suppose the average user sends 30 messages per day. This is about 1 satoshi per message at the current BTC exchange rate, that is, about a dollar a year. ”