The Lightning Network’s first mobile app for Bitcoin’s mainnet is now available through Google Play. Known as the Eclair Wallet, the app was released on April 4, 2018, via French technology startup ACINQ, and is being offered specifically to Android users.
Devices employing software version 5.0 or higher can send Lightning payments, which require significantly lower fees than the standard Bitcoin network. Transactions also happen much faster compared to on-chain confirmations.
Describing the new product on GitHub, ACINQ wrote:
“The Eclair Wallet is a next-generation, Lightning-ready Bitcoin wallet. It can be used as a regular Bitcoin wallet, and can also connect to the Lightning Network for cheap and instant payments. This software is based upon eclair [another Lightning implementation], and follows the Lightning Network standard.”
The product’s release marks the latest in a long list of items that have come by way of the Lightning Network over the past several weeks. In March, for example, the protocol’s “first Lightning mainnet release,” known as Ind 0.4-beta, went live to widespread acclaim. Several other new tools have since entered the market by way of private developers, and an upcoming beta known as c-lightning is expected to be available relatively soon.
The Lightning Network on Bitcoin is made possible in part due to Segregated Witness, the protocol upgrade that activated on Bitcoin last summer. The app’s popularity has also inspired users to request an iOS edition of the product.
The wallet does, however, come with certain limitations. According to a description written by ACINQ, “Lightning channels are outbound only: you can pay with LN but you cannot receive or forward payments with this wallet.” It further states that if users wish to enjoy the full LN experience, they are advised to run a full Eclair node.
The Lightning Network is described as a “peer-to-peer system” working as a “second-layer payment protocol” leveraging the security of Bitcoin’s blockchain to process (micro)payments. The Network’s scalability should allow it to process millions to billions of transactions per second across the network.
Founded in 2014, ACINQ is based in Paris, and seeks to build “products and services for the Bitcoin ecosystem.”