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Creator of Nostr blasts Bitcoin Lightning as ‘a scam’

Creator of Nostr blasts Bitcoin Lightning as ‘a scam'

The Lightning Network (LN) is a controversial layer-2 payment solution created to help Bitcoin (BTC) scale its transaction capacity. 

Amid the controversy, two LN developers have recently announced their departure from Lightning-related activities. While the creator of Nostr reportedly called it “a scam”.

Interestingly, Nostr is a decentralized social network created by the pseudonymous Fiatjaf (@fiatjaf). Which Bitcoin and the Lightning Network communities are enthusiastically adopting as an alternative to X (formerly Twitter). Despite that, Fiatjaf has been making criticisms about Bitcoin’s Layer 2 on both platforms.

“Lightning is a scam,” claims the Nostr creator in a screenshot shared by Nikita Zhavoronkov, the lead developer of Blockchair, on October 31. Blockchair is one of the oldest and most used Bitcoin block explorers in the cryptocurrency industry.

Notably, another user agreed that Lightning is “glitchy” and “unpolished” but asked Fiatjaf why he believed it was a scam:

“It is scamming bitcoiners out of their time and energy and money for 6 years.”

— Fiatjaf, creator of Nostr
Screenshot of the “Lightning is a scam” discussion.
Screenshot of the “Lightning is a scam” discussion. Source: Nikita Zhavoronkov (@nikzh)

Mira Hurley, the creator of the ‘pay-per-prompt’ GPT-4 Bot that accepts crypto, quoted Zhavoronkov’s post. Hurley agrees on the “immense time and effort sink” that is Lightning but believes “scam is too strong a word.”

Developers are leaving the Lightning Network

In this context, the Bitcoin community has recently seen two respected Lightning Network developers announcing their departure from LN-related work.

The most recent departure was announced on Nostr on October 30 by Anton Kumaigorodski, developer of the first mobile lightning wallet: “I consider LN a done deal. In my opinion, the whole LN protocol is overly complex and is getting worse,” Kumaigorodski wrote. Udi Wertheimer reproduced the full announcement on X.

Before that, Antoine Riard, an LN security researcher and developer, announced he would be “halting [his] involvement with the development of the Lightning Network and its implementations” due to a new attack vector discovered during his research:

“This new class of replacement cycling attacks puts lightning in a very perilous position, where only a sustainable fix can happen at the base layer.”

— Antoine Riard
Antoine Riard’s email to Lightning Network developers.
Antoine Riard’s email to Lightning Network developers. Source: Mailing list

In a new post on Stacker News, Riard also mentions maintainers of the Lightning Dev Kit were censoring him for “very unclear reasons.”

“I’ll advise for the time being the Bitcoin community to be very distrustful and doubtful about commitments and PR statements made by the spiral team, Steve Lee and Matt Corallo, as from my appreciation, they’re trying to cover up their ethical past misbehaving or do ‘virtue signaling’ to cover their inner softness in term of personal values.”

— Antoine Riard on Stacker News
Antoine Riard’s post. Source: Stacker News

Also notably, Finbold retrieved data from Amboss Space on October 31 showing that the Lightning Network lost 676 channels and 372 nodes in the last 30 days. However, despite the losses for the number of channels and nodes, LN’s liquid capacity increased by 854 BTC ($29.03 million) in a month.

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