Electrum, one of the most popular bitcoin wallet now supports payments via Lightning Network. Lightning support was added in version 4.0, which became one of the biggest updates since the release of the wallet in 2011.
“We decided to make Lightning, because we see in this technology development path of bitcoin. Lightning is quite complex and has its problems, but it is the most promising to date, the way to scale bitcoin. It allows for a quick, cheap and more private payments”, ― said in comments to Coindesk, the developer of Electrum under the pseudonym SomberNight.
The Electrum developers reported about the work on the implementation of the Lightning Network in March last year. According to SomberNight for Electrum was written by a totally new implementation of the Protocol Lightning, not used one of the existing (for example, LND from Lightning Labs or c-lightning from Blockstream). This is one of the reasons for the addition of Lightning in Electrum took so much time.
The new version of Electrum supports a number of other innovations that could make the Lightning more secure and less inconvenient to users.
Electrum incorporated the private watchtower (“watchtower”), an important component of Lightning that scans the bitcoin blockchain to detect and prevent fraud. Although today there are several implementations of the watchtower, they are not yet very widely used in the Lightning Network, although important part of the network. Thus, support watchtower from Electrum will make Lightning even more secure.
Also implemented in Electrum submarine swap (“swap underwater”). Payments remains a major part of the Lightning. As expressed SomberNight, the irony is that users “will not be able to receive payments until you spend some money.” “To solve this problem, we implemented the submarine swap, which is an atomic swap of bitcoins within the core network and Lightning,” said SomberNight. “Electrum Technologies manages the Central server that holds these swaps for the Commission.”
Electrum integrated Lightning-enabled hardware wallets. “You can use Lightning directly together with your hardware wallet: the opening and closing of the channels can directly pay with and to the addresses supported by the hardware device. Your balance in Lightning channel is not protected at the hardware level, but your entire balance in the core network will remain safe. Thus, you can have one wallet that can be used for payment inside the core network and to Lightning,” said SomberNight.
Electrum users can view the full list of changes here.