Alex Bosworth, infrastructure lead at Lightning Labs and Bryan Vu, with Product and Engineering at Lightning labs announced the release of Lightning Loop Alpha on 20 March.

Alex and Bryan commenced by introducing the initial release of Lightning Loop as a “non-custodial service” that makes it easier for people to receive funds on Lightning. The duo highlighted the growing number of Lightning applications and the need of users to avail receiving of funds.

The duo further emphasized the prominence of receiving funds. With the growing number of use cases from earning digital coins on microwork sites to selling goods, a salient need is to receive. The other major use case is making peer-to-peer transactions globally.

Alex and Bryan cited on Lightning Loop Alpha as –

“This initial release focuses on the ability for people to receive with what we call Loop Out. Lightning Loop Out allows users to increase their receiving capacity by offloading their funds from the network while keeping channels open.”

The duo drew an analogy of Lightning channels as tubes of money. The more the user wants to receive funds, they have to equally send the same amount. The money moves around but the total sum remains constant.

SUCH HANDOUTS SEEM TRIVIAL, BUT THEY ARE SURE TO CREATE AN IMPACT. PLUS ONE FOR CRYPTO.

The duo touched upon the Loop Out feature which is the highlight of this initial release. The Loop Out function attempts to solve a problem which affects Lightning Network users. After having received a certain amount via the Lightning Network, users can sometimes not receive more until they move the funds onto the chain. This can be done with the Loop Out feature.

Alex and Bryan informed that since the solution is non-custodial, the funds can be moved into any chosen address such as an exchange, a hot wallet, a cold wallet or a crypto-to-fiat service. The duo clarified that for this release, Loop Out transactions are limited to a maximum of 0.01 bitcoins (BTC).

Alex and Bryan expressed that the developer-focused alpha is intended to be used through the command line interface. There would be no usage fees during the alpha, but on-chain fees would be applicable. The duo shared information that in the next release, there are plans to add Loop In, which enables users to fill-up their Lightning channels.

Last year, Lightning Labs had posted about the architecture of their application. While already having shared information about the user interface, Lightning wanted to inform users on security and threat.

Alex and Bryan concluded by stating that Loop would contribute to the scalability, efficiency, and usability of Lightning. They recommended Lightning developers, testers, and enthusiasts to begin trying Loop. They clearly expressed that valuable feedback from the Lightning community is much appreciated.