Electrum Wallet is introducing Lightning Payments

Electrum, one of the oldest Bitcoin/Litecoin wallets will soon support lightning network payments. Coindesk met with Electrum’s creator Thomas Voegtlin during BIP001 blockchain event in Odessa, Ukraine where he revealed what he and his team had been working on and suggested they are now ‘close’ to an official public release although stopped shy of giving a release date.

“We’ve been doing this work for about a year in a separate branch on GitHub and we’ve reached the point when we are ready to merge it with our master branch. This is going to happen in the coming weeks until the end of July, and it means that the next major release will have lightning support.”

During the talk, Voegtlin shared further development insights including the fact that Electrum will not be utilising existing lightning clients. The team instead have been quietly developing their own implementation. The next release is said to be similar to ACINQ’s eclair which is a hybrid onchain / layer two bitcoin wallet with mainnet and testnet support for android devices. With Electrum joining the game their are now 4 implementations of the Lightning network in use including LND (Lightning Labs) and C Lightning (Blockstream).

Like Eclair, both use Electrum servers to connect to the bitcoin network, however, neither will use them for lightning payments with the github declaring ‘the client itself will act as a lightning node’ although it will not remain connected 24/7 since it is a Lightweight client. The team have taken another step towards their goal of helping scale the network and allowing users to remain soverign over their coins.

“We want to give users control over their funds”
— Thomas Voegtlin

The Litecoin version, ‘Electrum-LTC’ is maintained by ‘Pooler’ who also runs as of writing the 3rd largest Litecoin mining pool with just over 12% of the network hash rate. When asked about his thoughts on the move, Pooler responded:

“I would really like to get this supported in Electrum-LTC eventually,
though. It will all depend on how much tweaking and testing will be
required to get a working product for Litecoin, and on how much time I
will have on my hands.”

Electrum is a completely opensource wallet meaning anyone can review its code or contribute to the project via the official github repo (Litecoin repo). Since 2011 over 230 people have contributed in some form or another and the project has since expanded to support Windows, MacOS, Linux and Android systems.

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