This week marks another important development as Lightning Labs released information on its Lightning Network-based authentication system to the public. The new protocol dubbed the Lightning Service Authentication Tokens – LSAT could replace traditional email-based accounts in the coming years. The news demonstrates a further expansion of functionality for Bitcoin via this revolutionary second-layer protocol.
In a recent post, Lighting Labs goes into more detail surrounding the highly-anticipated project. The post explains that the Lightning Service Authentication Tokens (LSAT) project functions as an authentication protocol for paid services. It simplifies the entire process by streamlining the onboarding requirements. Basically, when you pay for services with Bitcoin, the protocol issues Lightning-based tokens. These tokens identify you without the need to provide personal information to third parties.
Cryptographic Bearer Credentials
The system enables users to purchase cryptographic bearer credentials to access services and resources. In this way, the protocol has the potential to eliminate cc use. Importantly, the implementation of such a system could allow users to pay for and immediately access web services, without needing accounts. Imagine, no more pesky account registration.
Your Lightning Service Authentication Tokens (LSAT) act as tickets for the purchased resources. Additionally, these tokens can be preprogrammed with what resources it grants access to. So issuers can easily grant a specific token type to users and modify or upgrade membership directly from the issuance platform.
On top of all of these features, these tokens can be exchanged, revoked, and modified. This last feature is critical. It allows issuers to charge users on an ongoing basis, versus upfront scheduled payments. It's also cool to think that you could one day exchange your account or services with other users using this protocol.
Lightning Service Authentication Tokens (LSAT) 402
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the venture is the use of the 402 protocol. You are probably familiar with the 404 protocol. This is the code you get when your browser was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested. The website hosting server will typically generate a “404 Not Found” web page when a user attempts to follow a broken or dead link. Surprisingly, this isn't the only 400 code in use today.
The hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) status code 402 has always been in your browser but never has had a specific use. Interestingly, many speculate that a digital cash system was the true intention for the code, but one didn't exist at the time. Especially, since in most versions of the HTTP specification, the code is marked as reserved for future use.
It seems fitting that Lightning Labs would find a suitable home for the 402 protocol. These developers continue to expand the functionality and stability of the Lighting Network. This latest development demonstrates a further desire to streamline the LN-integration process, as well as, improve on the UX of the entire network. Hopefully, in the near future, everyone will get to see the 402 protocol in use.