Bitcoinists are celebrating another significant development within the Lightning Network protocol this week. A computer scientist by the name of Dr.Akinyele has published an off-chain privacy architecture called BOLT which could make anonymity a reality on the Lighting Network. The protocol is already raising eyebrows amongst the cryptocommunity with Bitcoinist eager to try the newest Lightning Network feature.
The BOLT privacy protocol was published on Github this week. In an interview with Coindesk, the protocols developer explained how the Lightning Network can tackle more than just Bitcoin's scalability concerns. The protocol utilizes a combination of blind signatures and zero-knowledge proofs to accomplish anonymity. The protocol obscures the sender, receiver, and balance of transactions; making them untrackable by interested parties.
Dr.Akinyele was quick to explain that his latest release was merely to prove the concept was possible using the Lightning Network. He went as far as to state that BOLT could look very different in the future as development continues. In its current state, the protocol is designed primarily for use with Zcash, but the next phase of development will see this helpful feature expanded to Bitcoin's Lightning Network.
BOLTS Coming to Bitcoin and Litecoin
Both Bitcoin and Litecoin utilize similar Lightning Network protocols as Zcash. This makes them the obvious choice for the future development of the protocol. The feature could see integration into the Lightning Network protocol as a core feature. This would be similar to DASH's private send feature. Users are able to opt into the function when they desire more anonymity during their transactions.
Lightning Network Privacy
The Lightning Network already allows users to route their transactions through multiple hops to help increase privacy, but the addition of BOLT would be a significant upgrade concerning these capabilities. In most cases, average users will go with the most accessible methods available when sending their crypto. Unfortunately, this isn't the most secure and private course of action.
Watching the Patterns
Aware of this fact, Dr. Akinyele and his team of developers have been watching the Lightning Networks development closely. Much of the BOLT protocol was adapted after determining where the most privacy leaks occur on the Lightning Network. As most Lightning Network users send their coins from the same address repeatedly, this was the first concern the team faced.
Zcash is the first cryptocurrency to get this game-changing protocol because Dr. Akinyele found that Zcash's structure supported the implementation. Now that the protocol's structure has been successfully configured on Zcash, it can be adapted for Bitcoin and Litecoin use with less development required.
Bitcoin privacy concerns are becoming more prevalent now that most people are aware that Bitcoin transactions can be tracked via forensic blockchain software such as Elliptic. Hopefully, BOLT will help Bitcoin users gain added anonymity in the coming months as this protocol continues on its development.