Superbolt Proposal - a professionally run LN subset delivering superior UX

Superbolt Proposal - a professionally run LN subset delivering superior UX

Original Postby Robert Allen

Posted on: March 3, 2020 01:19 UTC

The Lightning Network (LN) currently presents a user experience that is far from retail-ready due to inbound/outbound channel liquidity issues and node dropouts resulting in many failed payment attempts.

A BOLT specification called Superbolt Network (SBN) has been proposed, which would enforce a stricter set of rules for nodes to follow, ensuring sufficient liquidity, uptime, and channel rebalancing automation. The SBN would be optional for LN nodes to use or not depending on whether they wish to participate in the Superbolt network directly. The proposal aims to solve the two fundamental problems with LN, which are connectivity and throughput. The proposal suggests distinct and uniform LN node classes with commensurate total node and per-channel liquidity requirements. Two node classes are proposed, Routing Node (RN), and Access Node (AN). Nodes would be required to maintain uptime to the network of at least 99% availability. Channel balancing would be automated via "circular payments" and Loop to ensure channels do not become stuck from inbound/outbound liquidity snags. Any LN node which claims to meet the requirements to be included in SBN would be rated by a randomized subset of the SBN network, and the inquiring node would receive cryptographically signed attestation that the node is either valid or invalid. Payments sent on the network would be subject to a flat fee regardless of hops involved in routing the payment. The proposal would guarantee close to 100% success rate for payment routing from any given SBN Access Node to any other SBN Access Node up to a reasonable network-defined maximum. Channel capacity is sufficient such that any one payment is an order of magnitude smaller than the nearest chokepoint. In case of unbalanced AN or RN node channel capacity, circular payments and Loop can be used to unstick capacity. The approaches would be automated, and rebalancing will occur if node liquidity is stuck in either direction beyond some threshold.