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Author Topic: [Anti Bitcoin] Lightning Loop: closed source and anti-competitive  (Read 182 times)
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March 21, 2019, 10:56:26 AM
Merited by pooya87 (1)
 #1

Lighting Loop announced today: https://blog.lightning.engineering/posts/2019/03/20/loop.html


So Lightning Labs are operating a new service that does everything their lightning client (called "lnd") should be doing, and they intend to begin to charge businesses a fee to do this!


Quote
https://github.com/lightninglabs/loop

"The service can be used in various situations:

  • Acquiring inbound channel liquidity from arbitrary nodes on the Lightning network
  • Depositing funds to a Bitcoin on-chain address without closing active channels
  • Paying to on-chain fallback addresses in the case of insufficient route liquidity"

I get why: businesses don't even need their own lightning node to do this.

But the Loop servers will be a central point of failure, so any kind of attack against those servers will undo any adoption Loop could stimulate, and harm Lightning's reputation in the process.


If Lightning Loop is such a good technology, and Lightning Labs are a competitive provider of services using that tech, then they can open source the server code so that others can set up Loop servers and compete openly. But they've chosen monopoly status as a provider of Loop, and all the negatives that brings with it.

Lightning Labs do not want an open competition, and any adoption of Loop will create a significant point of failure for the Lightning network. Lightning Labs are shooting themselves in the foot doing it this way.

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March 21, 2019, 11:31:32 AM
Merited by Carlton Banks (3)
 #2

Charging a fee and becoming a monopolist on a fancy update is not the best way to attract users. They got greedy, and they'll have to pay for it.
I don't use lightning network, because I am rather satisfied with Bitcoin itself. I am okay with the current fees and time. At the same time, as course, I am really impressed that lightning allows to send as small amounts of Bitcoin as 1-2 Satoshis (or so I'm told)! This loop update seems to be an important thing, especially for businesses that consider adopting Bitcoin lightning. I agree with you that this step, even though it's understandable, will make the reputation of the lightning network lower. Or, at least, it should. Who knows, maybe businesses are fine with a company that has no competitors and charges a small fee for providing a really good technology. It is anti-bitcoin anyway, though.

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March 21, 2019, 11:36:15 AM
 #3

Lighting Loop announced today: https://blog.lightning.engineering/posts/2019/03/20/loop.html


So Lightning Labs are operating a new service that does everything their lightning client (called "lnd") should be doing, and they intend to begin to charge businesses a fee to do this!


Quote
https://github.com/lightninglabs/loop

"The service can be used in various situations:

  • Acquiring inbound channel liquidity from arbitrary nodes on the Lightning network
  • Depositing funds to a Bitcoin on-chain address without closing active channels
  • Paying to on-chain fallback addresses in the case of insufficient route liquidity"

I get why: businesses don't even need their own lightning node to do this.

But the Loop servers will be a central point of failure, so any kind of attack against those servers will undo any adoption Loop could stimulate, and harm Lightning's reputation in the process.


If Lightning Loop is such a good technology, and Lightning Labs are a competitive provider of services using that tech, then they can open source the server code so that others can set up Loop servers and compete openly. But they've chosen monopoly status as a provider of Loop, and all the negatives that brings with it.

Lightning Labs do not want an open competition, and any adoption of Loop will create a significant point of failure for the Lightning network. Lightning Labs are shooting themselves in the foot doing it this way.

This will lead to other second layer protocols to be developed, which is alright, more competition on this front brings improvement. I'm not sure if that a free open source competitor will make money though.

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March 21, 2019, 11:47:40 AM
 #4

Charging a fee and becoming a monopolist on a fancy update is not the best way to attract users. They got greedy, and they'll have to pay for it.
I don't use lightning network, because I am rather satisfied with Bitcoin itself. I am okay with the current fees and time. At the same time, as course, I am really impressed that lightning allows to send as small amounts of Bitcoin as 1-2 Satoshis (or so I'm told)! This loop update seems to be an important thing, especially for businesses that consider adopting Bitcoin lightning. I agree with you that this step, even though it's understandable, will make the reputation of the lightning network lower. Or, at least, it should. Who knows, maybe businesses are fine with a company that has no competitors and charges a small fee for providing a really good technology. It is anti-bitcoin anyway, though.
If bitcoin ever receives mainstream attention you won't be happy with them. And while I was always rooting for big blocks, it's obvious we're not getting them on BTC so at least we need Lightning to work.
Lightning Labs need to be publicly pressured to open-source this feature, otherwise Bitcoin will slowly turn into their corporate shitcoin - with no resemblance of open-source or any type of openness whatsoever.
If we are united, they will have to apologize and do the community's bidding.

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March 21, 2019, 12:08:29 PM
 #5

So Lightning Labs are operating a new service that does everything their lightning client (called "lnd") should be doing, and they intend to begin to charge businesses a fee to do this!

They could have been offering a XAPO like wallet service and get revenue from ads, from the fees they don't have to pay for sending money between wallets inside their system, from businesses they can do with people's money as long as they don't get it out from the system.
It could be something better than the existing custodial wallets and it could have been the edge to have a flourishing business.
I am not a big fan of custodial wallets, but this is a possible future I foresee for "LN for the masses".

But the node software should have been open source. People could have been double checking and testing it. Benefit for everybody. Instead they chose to angry the community.
On the other hand I don't see any clear note they will surely charge money. All I've found was
Quote
No usage fees will be charged during the alpha, but on-chain fees will apply.
Of course, this can mean that they plan to charge, but you never know what the future brings...

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March 21, 2019, 01:40:14 PM
 #6

wasn't this an expected thing to happen already? people don't start "companies" to do work for free, they start them for profit making and sooner or later they all want return for their efforts!
what surprises me the most is that still there are people who try to introduce some sort of centralization and closed source applications into a decentralized and open source world!

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March 21, 2019, 04:04:36 PM
 #7

So in case Bitcoin will become somehow popular in offline payments those guys are trying to monopolize a "free currency" because slow blockchain transactions would be hardly accepted. I already imagine how much influence on BTC price will have any kind of lags from their side.
Anyway, there is a pretty long time until I'll be able to buy some coke for BTC so lightning labs can change its mind or get some competitors.
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March 21, 2019, 04:28:52 PM
 #8

Introduction of a paid service that, IMO should have already been included in LN is somewhat a Biggus Dickus move. Lightning Labs is like the EA of crypto industry: you can't get the full feature, you have to buy our DLC for exclusive content and better access. As I understand, the Loop is like a 24/7 terminal wherein the channel never closes, and passengers can keep on coming without delaying the time of departure (please correct me on this). If so, this is creating a central hub in which hackers and malicious users could target, and could therefore result into different errors and failures that could potentially lead to lost funds. This is not a good move, Lightning Labs.

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March 21, 2019, 04:47:11 PM
 #9

This was always going to happen,
Lightning Labs has decided to start making money off of their LN research, and once they start accepting direct fiat to LN transfers
and let people cash out directly to fiat, they will start using litecoin (instead of btc) for the lower transactions fees to fund channels.
Their goal is profit and they are not mindless bitcoin fanatics, so they are acting like business men.  Wink






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March 21, 2019, 05:24:49 PM
Merited by NeuroticFish (1)
 #10

After working hard on LN for many years despite lots of FUDs and attempt to fix LN's flaw by design, it's doesn't make sense Lightning Labs would do this, especially when LN isn't "stable" enough if daily usage.
If they release Lightning Loop after LN is deemed "stable" enough, i'm sure they could earn more money that way.

Let's see which one will happen first :
1. Lightning Labs decide to make Loop open source and allow competition
2. Bitcoin and LN community decide to fork Lightning Labs works (just like MySQL community fork MySQL after oracle bought MySQL)
3. Bitcoin community move on/focus to another scaling solution (whether it's on-chain or off-chain)

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March 26, 2019, 12:59:41 PM
 #11

Somehow missed this topic.  I naturally assumed most of their revenue would come from consultancy work, offering their services to show businesses how to integrate Lightning into their existing payment systems.  It's not ideal that Lightning Labs opted to offer this particular service in the way that they have, but one would hope that maybe ACINQ, Blockstream or any other Lightning developers out there can come up with something similar in their clients and will subsequently keep the source open, allowing competition to thrive.  Lightning Labs aren't the only game in town, so maybe the others will keep them honest.

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March 26, 2019, 02:14:08 PM
 #12

Lightning Labs aren't the only game in town, so maybe the others will keep them honest.

or maybe others follow the same path if they also see there is money to be made.
that is the biggest problem when centralized organizations get involved in bitcoin, there is always greed and they always end up caring only about making money.
i wouldn't run anything closed source because i consider them 100% unsafe. it is not just about stealing my bitcoins but it is mainly about betraying my privacy.

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March 26, 2019, 03:20:37 PM
 #13

Lightning Labs aren't the only game in town, so maybe the others will keep them honest.

or maybe others follow the same path if they also see there is money to be made.

Perhaps, but then it's down to us as users to support the values we want to see upheld.  All it takes is for one developer to give users the choice and then we can see whether people opt to use the open or closed source one.  Plus, releasing an open-source version doesn't mean they can't make money from it.

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March 26, 2019, 07:02:06 PM
 #14

Lightning Labs aren't the only game in town, so maybe the others will keep them honest.

or maybe others follow the same path if they also see there is money to be made.
that is the biggest problem when centralized organizations get involved in bitcoin, there is always greed and they always end up caring only about making money.
i wouldn't run anything closed source because i consider them 100% unsafe. it is not just about stealing my bitcoins but it is mainly about betraying my privacy.

Right, but in this case centralisation and anti-competitivity are the only problems. Lightning Loop appears to have better trust properties (i.e. the business handles it's own keys) or privacy issues than any other lightning wallet service; it's actually a good idea to make onboarding simplified, except the part where Lightning Labs set themselves up as the monopoly provider.

It deserves to be condemned; what makes Lightning Labs think they're going to be properly motivated to not abuse such a status? It's simultaneouly shameful and shameless, Elizabeth Stark is presumably responsible for this poor decision

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