As the Lightning Network comes closer and closer to fruition, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are anticipating a network for payments that is far more fast and affordable than what is currently seen. While there is still work to be done before Bitcoin sees such an implementation, it’s important to recognize that other projects are also working on or have already implemented the underlying technology of this network. Here are three examples:
1. Ripple (XRP)
For close to one year, Ripple has been actively using payment channels to process thousands of transactions per second on its network. Payment channels utilize the same off-chain settlement function as the Lightning Network. That is, the transactions are processed adjacent to, rather than through, the global ledger. Only the settlement portion of the transaction takes place on-chain.
With payment channels, Ripple claims to consistently process 1,500 transactions per second, more than any other cryptocurrency. Additionally, a July 2017 stress test suggested that Ripple’s network can handle up to 50,000 tps, which rivals that of VISA. Beyond speed, an implementation like Ripple’s payment channels allows its ledger to scale massively, too.
2. Raiden Network (RNT)
Like XRP, Raiden is also implementing a payment channels protocol into its network. The difference between the two tokens, however, is that RNT seeks to apply its payment channels technology directly on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike Ripple, this project has not fully launched, and it is still in the later stages of testing and development.
Raiden has huge implications. If it is a success, the already widely-used Ethereum blockchain would be upgraded. Ethereum-based games such as CryptoKitties would be massively scalable without presenting a burden to the overall network. This would also allow for exponentially more efficient, and therefore accessible, participation in Ethereum-based gaming and other on-chain ETH protocols. If Raiden launches, these existing ecosystems based on Ethereum would very likely see a massive influx of participants.
3. Chimaera (CHI)
Compared with the first two projects, Chimaera takes a more creative approach to Lightning Network settlement solutions with an implementation called “game channels”. Game channels represent a gamified Lightning Network solution for online gaming directly on the custom Chimaera blockchain. Like XRP and RNT, such a system can create a massively scalable, easily accessible network for all. Unlike these two, however, Chimaera’s implementation will enable users to participate in peer-to-peer, provably fair, automatically-escrowed online gaming directly within the game channel.
Game channels could potentially revolutionize the manner in which gamers connect, as this approach eliminates server upkeep and moderation costs, as well as ensure against cheating. Game channels were first invented by lead developer Dr. Daniel Kraft in a 2016 Power Ledger entry. Chimaera quietly sold out its private presale very recently, and is slated to begin its public sale soon. Soon after the sale completes in Q2, this technology will be published to the public to create and interact with an entirely new type of gaming.