Oct 22, 2023

Bitcoin Core Developer Confronts Hard Dilemma Over Lightning Network

Blockchain Web 3.0 and Upcoming Cryptocurrencies Network with 000 Pieces
Bitcoin core developer steps back from Lightning Network over “hard dilemma”

Replacement Cycling Attack and Bitcoin Ecosystem

Antoine Riard, a security researcher and developer, has recently stepped down from the Lightning Network’s development team due to security issues and fundamental challenges to the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Riard posted a thread on the Linux Foundation’s public mailing list, in which he mentioned a “hard dilemma” the Bitcoin community is facing due to the emergence of a new kind of attack, called replacement cycling attack. This attack is targeting payment channels, which are an integral part of the Lightning Network, a second-layer solution built over the Bitcoin blockchain. The Lightning Network is designed to improve the scalability and efficiency of Bitcoin (BTC) transactions by enabling off-chain, peer-to-peer transactions.

The replacement cycling attack allows the attacker to steal funds from a channel participant by exploiting inconsistencies between individual mempools. This puts the Lightning Network in a “perilous position”, according to Riard.

Bitcoin Network Challenges

Riard also noted that addressing the new type of attack may require changes to the underlying Bitcoin network:

Lightning developers are tackling various issues, including criticisms related to the network’s complexity and the requirements for user experience. Since its launch in 2018, the layer-2 network has become increasingly popular, with a total value of $159.5 million locked at the time of writing, according to data from DefiLlama. However, this amount is still very small compared to Bitcoin’s $587 billion market capitalization.

Riard now plans to focus on Bitcoin core development, but warned about the upcoming challenges for the major cryptocurrency ecosystem: “blockchain web 3.0”, “upcoming crypto”, “when is web 3.0 coming”, “web 3.0 cryptocurrency” and “blockchain vs web 3.0”.

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