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Plugging into C-Lightning: The Future of Lightning Plugins Is Bright

Plugging into C-Lightning: The Future of Lightning Plugins Is Bright

The post Plugging into C-Lightning: The Future of Lightning Plugins Is Bright appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Trying to navigate the different Lightning implementations can be a challenge. Although there were initially three implementations: c-lightning, eclair and lnd, more continue to come out of the woodwork all the time with ptarmigan, rust-lightning and Electrum the most recent to enter the fray.

Often, it seems developers and aspiring developers choose to use or contribute to a particular implementation based on the language it is written in. Familiar with Scala? Choose eclair. Excited by the potential of Rust? Choose rust-lightning. However, there are other key considerations such as the aims, design philosophies, use cases and trade offs of the different implementations. In addition, just because an implementation is written in a certain language doesn’t necessarily mean that you are required to code in that language to contribute to the ecosystem around that implementation.

The emerging contrasts between the lnd and rust-lightning implementations were explored on a panel at Breaking Bitcoin 2019 and in this Bitcoin Magazine article. Whilst lnd seeks to take the load off developers and provide ultimate functionality out of the box, rust-lightning seeks to offer ultimate flexibility with developers encouraged to bring their own components and slot them in. 

In contrast, c-lightning offers a third way. It maintains a robust and secure core that is designed to not be tweaked or replaced by the developer. Flexibility and additional functionality is available through the use of plugins that can be written by the developer in various languages such as Python or Go. The aim is for the c-lightning ecosystem to emerge as a testbed for experimenting with new cutting edge features, previously the terrain of other implementations such as lnd and eclair, without sacrificing the performance and robustness of the core.

Plugins are subprocesses that are started by the main lightningd daemon. They work in cooperation with lightningd. Any plugins that are surplus to requirements do not need to be run. Some plugins do need certain hooks to be introduced into lightningd that will notify the plugins about internal events and/or alter the behavior of lightningd.

The First C-Lightning Plugins

Blockstream has a series of Medium blog posts to showcase some of the first plugins written by the c-lightning team. These include the “Summary” plugin which provides a summary of node status including satoshis onchain, what that amounts to in fiat terms, number of peers, number of channels, how balanced are they, etc. 

The “Probe” plugin determines whether there is a route to make a payment to a certain node in the network, returns the fee level required and indicates which channel(s) are preventing a successful payment. This can be used to prepare the groundwork for a future payment or merely to explore the topology of the network. 

The “Prometheus” plugin collects data on the performance of your node to provide visualizations and alerts. With all of these plugins you could choose to contribute to the plugin by adding a feature or building your own from scratch.

Community Plugins

In total there are 16 “community curated” plugins for c-lightning available at the time of writing. These include an autopilot plugin ported from a library built by Rene Pickhardt. Autopilots decide which nodes to open channels with on behalf of the user. The user needs to tell the autopilot the percentage of funds under their control, the number of channels to be opened and the minimum channel size. The autopilot also needs to be notified by lightningd when channels are opened and closed by remote parties. Building an effective autopilot is challenging as user preferences, such as maximizing the probability of a successful payment, can conflict with network health, such as the level of decentralization. 

There is also a rebalance plugin, which moves liquidity between the user’s channels to ensure there is sufficient incoming and outgoing liquidity; and an invoiceless payment plugin, which allows a user to make a payment without first receiving an invoice. When running c-lightning you can choose to turn on or off any combination of these plugins.

As Lisa Neigut (@niftynei) said in her tweetstorm, c-lightning doesn’t provide “a standardized HTTP accessible interface out of the box nor an authentication scheme” for third-party app developers like lnd does. But community-built plugins offer the opportunity to build equivalents for c-lightning that exist in other implementations. 

Kristaps Kaupe has started a GitHub repo for plugins emulating some lnd commands. Other plugin authors worth highlighting are Richard Bondi, who has written a collection of plugins in Go, including a plugin to ban peers; fiatjaf, who has written a plugin implementing LN URL to help the payer interact with the payee; and Conor Scott, who has written a number of plugins in Python including a plugin to create channels with top capacity nodes. Finally, Justin Moon has built a proof-of-concept plugin to fund Lightning channels with hardware wallets.

The Challenges of Plugins

Although this plugin architecture seems to offer the best of both worlds, it does present some challenges and potential downsides. It is not clear at this stage whether the ultimate flexibility of rust-lightning will mean it is better suited for existing Bitcoin wallets seeking to integrate Lightning into their existing codebase.

In addition, as the number of community plugins multiply and the value of Bitcoin relying on these plugins increases, security and curation are going to be critical. There will inevitably be duplication and overlap between plugins. 

Curation is challenging because it effectively recommends (unofficially, caveat emptor) which plugins should be used and which shouldn’t. Without curation, it becomes impossible for users and developers to get started quickly without examining all of the competing plugins. There is an argument that some languages (and some developers!) are better suited to writing security-critical software. However, the particularly dangerous JSON-RPC methods can only be installed with the developer option and are only intended for testing and debugging with the assistance of the c-lightning team. There is also guidance available on the dangers a plugin developer might incur when taking advantage of a particular hook that can change the default behavior of c-lightning.

It is not the case that this approach creates a perfectly permissionless environment for developers, as some future plugins will still require additional hooks to be merged into the c-lightning codebase by the c-lightning team. For example, a hook to facilitate a watchtower plugin is in discussion at the time of writing. It is possible that some hooks won’t be merged due to security concerns or implementation details.

It remains to be seen whether instances of c-lightning nodes running different sets of plugins cause compatibility issues between c-lightning nodes or with other implementations. It is already challenging to ensure compatibility between different implementations, assuming c-lightning nodes are all running the same release. Experimentation is important, though, and lessons from this experimentation will prove invaluable when finalizing the BOLT specifications for the Lightning protocol.

London Bitcoin Devs

The opportunity to build and play around with new plugins in a wide selection of different languages is drawing developers into building on top of c-lightning. Antoine Poinsot (@darosior) came to London to present at the London Bitcoin Devs meetup in March 2020. Poinsot is developing a plugin manager called Reckless which will offer a selection of plugins to the user and start the chosen plugins dynamically. He has also built an RPC command hook which allows a plugin to take over any RPC command and change it. This is potentially reckless and experimental as RPC commands are how users interact with lightningd. If RPC commands can be accepted, rejected or changed it opens up a number of use cases but also possibilities for users to lose their funds.

This RPC command hook formed the basis of Rusty Russell’s most recent presentation at the online Boltathon 2. There is still a whole swathe of plugins that could be built from trampoline routing to HODL invoices, and Christian Decker expects “There’s already a plugin that does that” to become a meme. In that case, Decker and the c-lightning community may just have their work cut out curating this emerging jungle of plugins.

Thanks to Antoine Poinsot and Christian Decker for their contributions to this article.

The post Plugging into C-Lightning: The Future of Lightning Plugins Is Bright appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/plugging-into-c-lightning-the-future-of-lightning-plugins-is-bright?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=plugging-into-c-lightning-the-future-of-lightning-plugins-is-bright

Blockchain

Blockchain Platform QANplatform to Provide Cloud Deployments

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The Quantum-resistant blockchain platform – QAN – will launch its cloud deployment service, via which developers can reach platforms like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. The new option will be available from the end of 2021.

QANplatform Vows to Cut The Deployment Time

Through a new cloud deployment feature on its network, users of the Estonian-based blockchain platform – QANplatform – would be able to extend the QAN private DLT to cloud platforms such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Linode, and DigitalOcean in no longer than 5 minutes.

Per the announcement shared with CryptoPotato, QANplatform would be the first in its field to automate this function to such major platforms. As a result, DevOps engineers and developers would be capable of building quantum-resistant smart contracts, DeFi solutions, tokens, DApps, and NFTs at a reduced deployment time by 80%.

Johann Polecsak – Co-Founder and CTO of QANplatform – praised the future initiative. He said his blockchain project aims to lower the entry barrier for the developer community so it can “build Proofs-of-Concept (PoC) and Minimum Viable Products (MVP) as fast as possible to reach mass adoption.”

“QAN blockchain platform solves this issue by building integrations to existing and widely used and loved programming languages (Rust, Go), DevOps technologies (Docker, Kubernetes) and Cloud Platforms like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure.” – Polecsak added.

The cloud platform deployment feature would start with the QANplatform TestNet release. It would be available for developers by the end of the ongoing year as they can pre-register for it.

QAN Raised Over $2M to Build DeFi Ecosystem

In May this year, QANplatform caught the attention of the crypto community with another initiative. Back then, the blockchain project announced a fundraise of $2.1M from companies like Fairum Ventures, BlackDragon, DeltaHub Capital, and Insignius Capital. With it, QANplatform aimed to develop an ecosystem where users would be capable of building various software applications within DeFi quicker.

Max Mucko – Partner at BlackDragon – commented on the move:

“We are glad to contribute to this investment round and support QANplatform’s future growth. We see a lot of potentials not only because of the quantum-resistant cybersecurity but also for QAN’s other IPs like Proof-of-Randomness (PoR) consensus algorithm, rapid cloud platform deployment, or the upcoming multi-language smart contract development feature.”

The funding focused on three strategic areas: product development, liquidity providing on exchanges, and marketing.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/blockchain-platform-qanplatform-to-provide-cloud-deployments/

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Blockchain

Busta Rhymes, Dungeon Dragon “Rawring” Again With The HUSL

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[PRESS RELEASE  Gros-Islet, Saint Lucia – 28th September 2021]

NFTs have become a safe space for artists all over the world because of their unparalleled distribution capabilities and direct connection between the fans and artists. The HUSL aims to use this capability of NFTs to remove the intermediaries from the music industry and connect artists directly to their fans.

The HUSL has partnered with Busta Rhymes, a world-renowned rapper who is ready to launch his first NFT collection called Dungeon Dragon.

Dungeon Dragon holds a special place in Busta’s life and personal meaning. Busta Rhymes became popular as Dungeon Dragon from East Flatbush once separated from his band 16 bars. This name brought Busta a lot of success and helped him grow as an artist to become the soulful legend is today.

“Its an honor to launch Busta’s 1st ever NFT collection, especially one with that pertains to an image which holds such deep meaning to him”, said founder and CEO of The HUSL, Varun Bajaj.

The Dungeon Dragon NFT collection is a tribute to his journey and will be launched exclusively on The HUSL. The HUSL is a disruptive NFT platform designed to break the existing monotonous and unfair industry standards of the music industry. The HUSL aims to create a symbiotic relationship between creators and consumers and bring exclusive and rare NFT collectibles to the fans.

About The Dungeon Dragon NFT Collection

Busta Rhymes is launching an exclusive Dungeon Dragon NFT collection on The HUSL on Thursday, September 30th, 2021. Before the launch, on Wednesday, Busta will participate in a live Twitter Space with The HUSL to announce the collection and the significance behind the collection.

The Dungeon Dragon collection will include three NFTs – Red, Silver, and Gold. All of these three NFTs are priced differently and hold several exciting hidden rewards. About 10% of each Tier collector will be selected to be rewarded with exclusive perks that involve Busta such as private and group zoom calls and autographed memorabilia.

The price of the NFTs are as follow,

Gold – .20 ETH
Silver – .10 ETH
Red – .05 ETH

All three NFTs hold special meaning to Busta Rhymes and celebrate his journey of becoming the star he is today. Busta took to Twitter to announce the impending launch of the NFTs.

About Busta Rhymes

Trevor George Smith Jr. professionally known as Busta Rhymes is an American record producer and Rapper. The 49-year-old artist has several laurels to his name with his hit songs such as Touch it (2006), I Know What You Want (2002), and Break Ya Neck (2001).

Busta Rhymes has been an active part of the NFT community and will be releasing a Dungeon Dragon NFT collection soon on The HUSL.

About The HUSL

The HUSL is a revolutionary music-based NFT platform designed to empower artists and creators by connecting them directly with their fans. The platform aims to disrupt the existing music industry distribution model which is rigged to help distributors and other intermediaries and give complete control to the artists.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/busta-rhymes-dungeon-dragon-rawring-again-with-the-husl/

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Assessing an investment in Bitcoin post-China’s latest ‘ban’

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The sky is blue. Water is wet. China is banning Bitcoin. 

While some new investors were petrified, as can be inferred from the minor dip in prices, a majority of the community remained unscathed by the development.

It isn’t the first time China has banned Bitcoin, and it probably won’t be the last. However, speculations suggest that this time China might be more serious than before. However, will it really matter in the long run for Bitcoin and co.?

A quick recap of the Bitcoin-China tussle of 2021

China threw the first sign of caution back in March. Reports stated that there is an ongoing crackdown on Bitcoin mining firms and there was an extended ban on mining projects in Inner Mongolia. At that time, the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang were the highest contributors to the hash rate. And yet, Bitcoin continued to rally and recorded new highs in April, consolidating in that range till May 2021.

Then, in May and June 2021, China decided to ban banks and payments firms from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions. The National Internet Finance Association of China, the Clearing Association of China, and the China Banking Association issued a warning that consumers would have no protection if they faced any losses during crypto-trading.

And now, the People’s Bank of China(PBoC) has announced that there would be tougher measures taken on crypto-trading. This applies to any institution involved in crypto-transactions, regardless of it being off-shore if services are provided in China.

So, is it time to buy Bitcoin?

Ironically, whenever China has made news with a major ‘ban’ announcement on Bitcoin, the digital asset has gone on to record all-time highs.

Source: Trading View

Beginning with the initial concern during Q4 of 2013, China’s central bank had revealed that it was worried about digital asset payments. At the time, Baidu, China’s biggest Internet service company, was served with a warning – Do not accept any form of digital payments. A few weeks later, it jumped by almost 6x, hitting $1242.

In September 2017, China announced that it was going to shut down all Bitcoin exchanges after the asset rallied towards the beginning of 2017. While the price momentarily dropped, end of Q4 2017, Bitcoin hit $20,000.

In terms of market structure, 2017 and 2021 have been largely similar. And now, they have another common entity with China’s ban. Speculators are suggesting that China’s restrictions are the perfect investment opportunity based on historical data.

However, only time will tell if the digital asset actually touches another ATH towards the end of the year.

Is there a hidden agenda?

Without sounding too dismissive about the current situation, it is important to identify the difference between China’s stance then and now. According to last Friday’s notice, 10 agencies are present. Previously, it was 7. Mainly, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is one of the new entrants, something that might underline the weight of the current ban.

The notice claimed that any individual or organization investing in virtual currencies and similar crypto-derivatives violates “public order and good customs.” There is a certain indirectness to this statement since it can be essentially taken as “trade with crypto at your own risk.”

Leading commentators have also speculated the idea of diminishing economic freedom and the fact that China is ready to establish its own Fed coin. One which will have similar crypto-characteristics. China remains secretive as ever, so while such announcements do affect the larger market sentiment for Bitcoin, the asset has been resilient over the past few months.

Where to Invest?

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/assessing-an-investment-in-bitcoin-post-chinas-latest-ban

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