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  • Several severe vulnerabilities have been discovered in the Lightning Network.
  • All node operators are recommended to update their software.
  • Bugs and vulnerabilities have plagued the Lightning Network.

The experts of Lightning Labs discovered new bugs in the Lightning Network protocol. While the details and the nature of the vulnerabilities are not disclosed at this stage, all node operators should update their software to avoid critical issues. 

According to the information published by Lightning Labs on linuxfoundation.org, the vulnerabilities affect the version of 0.10.x and below. However, the full details will be disclosed on October 20, 2020, together with the comprehensive bug bounty program.

Commenting on the announcement, Conner Fromknecht, the head of the cryptographic engineering department in Lightning Labs, said:

While we have no reason to believe these vulnerabilities have been exploited in the wild, we strongly urge the community to upgrade to lnd 0.11.0 or above ASAP.

He also added that the discovery circumstances prevented them from disclosing the full details until the issues were investigated.

Bugs never come singly

This is not the first time the Lightning Network faces critical vulnerabilities. At the end of September, Joost Jager found out that Bitcoin transactions within the Lightning Network were less secure than expected. He revealed a bug that disabled payment channels in the LN for two weeks. 

Lightning is great, but can’t say it is battle-tested. If script kids would be interested, they could take down those shiny new 5 BTC wumbo channels with negligible cost and no effort at all, he wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, in June, blockchain experts from Jerusalem University Jona Harris and Aviv Zohar also discovered a vulnerability that allowed hackers to steal Bitcoins by overloading the network.

What is Lightning Network 

Lightning Network is a second-layer solution for Bitcoin blockchain based on the smart contracts technology. The idea behind LN was to make transactions with the pioneer cryptocurrency faster and cheaper as currently, it takes about 16 minutes and over $3 to get the transaction included in the distributed ledger.

Bitcoin transaction fees

Source: ycharts.com

However, the developers introduced LN as a spin-off from the blockchain with partial confirmation of the transactions. Thus the users are able to process transactions off the mainnet. 

This solution was supposed to increase Bitcoin’s scalability and turn BTC into a means of payment. Due to partial confirmations, the transactions are processed faster, making Bitcoin suitable for small everyday payments.

The idea is good, but hard to implement

Roger Ver, a crypto enthusiast that forked Bitcoin and created Bitcoin Cash (BCH), recently called Lighting Network a complete failure. He pointed out that the solution was useless, as people preferred Wrapped Bitcoin on Ethereum rather than Lightning Network.

 

While his comparison seems to be flawed as the growth of wrapped Bitcoins on ETH blockchain was caused mostly by DeFi-boom and had little to do with ETH scalability. 

However, the networks have something in common: both are struggling to deliver scalability issues. 

Ethereum developers launched Spadina, which was supposed to become the last test version of the blockchain before the Ethereum 2.0 mainnet release. However, it turned out to be a complete failure. Now the developers are working on another test version and still hope to launch ETH 2.0 by the end of the year.