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OKEx, a world-leading cryptocurrency spot and derivatives exchange, has announced that it has integrated Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, allowing faster and cheaper transactions for users.

The Lightning Network is a decentralized scaling solution for Bitcoin that abstracts small transactions between users away from the Bitcoin blockchain. It utilizes smart contracts to settle the final balance of those payments into the Bitcoin “base layer” whilst ensuring that all transactions abide by the rules of the Bitcoin protocol. But while these transactions take place in Lightning channels, they do not require the transaction fees or wait times that “on-chain” Bitcoin transactions typically do.

According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, this step taken by OKEx “highlights [the exchange’s] deep commitment to bringing the most advanced Bitcoin technology to the world — and furthering the development of the Bitcoin ecosystem.”

“By integrating Layer 2 payment protocols like the Lightning Network, we can offer more competitive products to our users and, at the same time, openly demonstrate our support for the Bitcoin network by increasing the number of participant nodes in the Lightning Network," commented OKEx CEO Jay Hao, per the release.

Elizabeth Stark, CEO and co-founder of Lightning Labs, a company dedicated to developing open-source software that supports and empowers the Lightning Network, highlighted the importance of OKEx’s move, saying that "OKEx's leadership in adopting Lightning will help bring bitcoin to the next billion people around the world," according to the release.