Bitcoin Wallet Electrum Now Supports Lightning, Watchtowers and Submarine Swaps

One of the preferred Bitcoin wallets, Electrum, now helps Lightning Network funds.

The newest swathe of main adjustments was launched in model 4.0, one in every of its largest upgrades for the reason that Bitcoin pockets launched in 2011. (Note: Since the 4.Zero launch, some bug fixes have been added.) Lightning funds are seen as the way forward for Bitcoin as a result of they’re cheaper and would enable many extra customers to make bitcoin cryptocurrency transactions without delay. 

This makes Electrum the oldest pockets to have adopted Lightning funds up to now.

Lightning help in Electrum is a very long time coming. Electrum founder Thomas Voegtlin first informed CoinDesk final summer season that Lightning would make it into the following launch.

“[We] decided to adopt Lightning because we see it as the way forward for Bitcoin. Lightning is quite complicated and not without its issues but ultimately it is the most promising currently known way of scaling Bitcoin. It also allows fast, cheap and more private payments,” pseudonymous Electrum developer SomberNight informed CoinDesk in an e mail.

In order to help Lightning transactions, the builders really wrote a wholly new implementation of the Lightning protocol “from scratch,” SomberNight mentioned, as an alternative of utilizing a preferred implementation, corresponding to Lightning Labs’ LND or Blockstream’s c-lightning. That’s one motive the discharge took so lengthy.

An Electrum watchtower

In addition to help for Lightning funds, Electrum 4.0.2 now helps a lot of different improvements with this new launch that might make utilizing Lightning safer and fewer bumpy for customers.

For one, Electrum has carried out its personal Lightning watchtower, an essential element of the Lightning Network, which scans the Bitcoin blockchain with a view to detect and forestall fraud.

Though there are just a few watchtower implementations on the market now, they nonetheless aren’t generally used but throughout the Lightning Network, regardless of being an essential piece. In this manner, Electrum’s watchtower help is a step towards a greater Lightning Network. 

Submarine swaps

Then, there are “submarine swaps.” Accepting funds remains to be a difficult a part of the Lightning Network as a result of customers want what’s known as “incoming capacity” to obtain funds, which suggests funds have to be positioned in a sure a part of an individual’s Lightning “channel,” which is kind of like an account . 

The irony is customers “will not be able to receive payments until they spend some money,” as SomberNight put it.

“To solve this, we implemented ‘submarine swaps,’ which are atomic exchanges of on-chain and Lightning bitcoins,” SomberNight informed CoinDesk. In different phrases, submarine swaps makes it doable to ship regular bitcoin to a Lightning channel, providing a technique for customers to refill their incoming capability.

“Electrum Technologies runs a central server that facilitates these swaps, for a fee. This allows users to buy incoming capacity to be able to receive Lightning payments,” the developer added.

Hardware help for Lightning

Electrum additionally built-in Lightning with {hardware} help. Because {hardware} wallets retailer bitcoin offline past the attain of hackers they’re thought of top-of-the-line methods of securing bitcoin.

“You can [now] use Lightning directly with your hardware wallet: Channel-opens and channel-closes can directly pay from and to addresses backed by a hardware device. Your Lightning balance, while in channels, will not be secured by the hardware but all your on-chain balance will be, and it’s very convenient to have a shared single wallet that you can use to pay both on-chain and Lightning,” SomberNight informed CoinDesk.

The Electrum workforce has been engaged on different options too. Electrum pockets customers can view the total launch notes right here.


The chief in blockchain information, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the best journalistic requirements and abides by a strict set of editorial insurance policies. CoinDesk is an unbiased working subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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