Bitcoin Electrum Wallet currently supports swaps, watchtowers and submarines

One of the most popular Bitcoin wallets, Electrum, currently supports Lightning Network payment.

The latest version of the major changes has been released in version 4.0, one of the biggest upgrades since the Bitcoin wallet launched in 2011. (Note: Since the release of 4.0, several bug fixes has been added.) Lightning payments are considered the future of Bitcoin because they are cheaper and will allow more users to conduct bitcoin cryptocurrency transactions at the same time.

This makes Electrum the oldest wallet to have applied Lightning payments to date.

Lightning support in Electrum is a long time coming. Electrum founder Thomas Voegtlin first told CoinDesk last summer that Lightning would bring it to the next version.

We then decided to adopt Lightning because we saw it as the way forward for Bitcoin. Lightning is quite complex and not without its problems, but ultimately it is the most promising way of extending Bitcoin today. It also allows for faster, cheaper and more private payments, the developer Electrum, impersonating SomberNight, told CoinDesk in an email.

Read more: What is Bitcoin Lightning Lightning Network?

To support Lightning transactions, developers actually wrote a whole new implementation for the Lightning protocol, from the outset, Som SomberNight said, instead of using a popular deployment, like Lightning Labs, LND. Or Blockstream, Lightning. It is a reason that the release takes so long.

An Electrum watchtower
In addition to supporting Lightning payments, Electrum 4.0.2 now supports a number of other improvements with this new version that can help make Lightning safer and less bumpy for users.

First of all, Electrum has deployed its own Lightning watchtower, an important component of the Lightning Network, scans the Bitcoin blockchain to detect and prevent fraud.

Read more: Bitcoin Lightning fraud? Laolu is building a ‘Watchtower to fight it

Although there are a few watchtower implementations currently, they are still commonly used on the Lightning Network, albeit an important part. In this way, supporting Electrum towers is a step towards better Lightning Network.

Submarine swap
After that, there were submarine swaps. Accepting payments is still a difficult part of the Lightning Network because users need what is called the coming power of Islam to receive payments, which means that money needs to be put into a certain part of the channel. Lightning, a person like an account.

The irony is that users will not be able to receive payments until they spend some money, as SomberNight has put it.

To solve this problem, we have made submarine swaps, which are atomic exchanges of bitcoin on the chain and Lightning, Bitcoin SomberNight told CoinDesk. In other words, submarine swaps allow normal bitcoin to be sent to the Lightning channel, providing a way for users to fill up their incoming traffic.

Electrum Technologies runs a central server that facilitates these swaps for a fee. This allows users to purchase incoming storage so they can receive Lightning payments, the developer adds.

Hardware support for Lightning
Electrum also integrates Lightning with hardware support. Because hardware wallets store bitcoin offline beyond the reach of hackers, they are considered one of the best ways to secure bitcoin.

You can [now] use Lightning directly with your hardware wallet: Opening channels and closing channels can be paid directly and to addresses supported by a hardware device. Your Lightning balance, while in channels, will not be secured by hardware but all your on-chain balances will be and it is very convenient to have a shared single wallet that you can use to Pay both online and Lightning, Som SomberNight told CoinDesk.

The Electrum team is also working on other features. Electrum wallet users can view the full release notes here.

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