Interstellar Builds Lightning Network-Like Stellar (XLM) Payment Channels


The joint venture between Chain and Lightyear has released Starlight, a bi-directional payment channel on the Stellar network.


Instant payments on Stellar

Interstellar, a company recently formed by Lightyear, in partnership with Chain, has announced the preview release of Starlight, software that enables bi-directional payments channels on the Stellar network.

Payment channels enable two parties on the network to carry out transactions between themselves privately, instantly, and securely. These transfers are not charged a fee as they are not executed on the main chain.

Interstellar made the announcement on Thursday via its official blog and Twitter:

How Starlight Works

A typical payment on the Stellar blockchain needs to be broadcast to the entire network and must wait for a consensus before being confirmed. The sender is charged a fee for the transfer.

A Starlight payment channel, on the other hand, opens a two-way link between any two parties that wish to transact between themselves. The network is used to “lock-up” some funds to enable the transactions between the two parties. These payments are instant, private and free.

After each transaction, the details are registered and signed by both participants. The information is not broadcast to the network until one of the entities chooses to close the channel. The “settlement transactions”, after completing the calculation, send the remaining balances to each party’s stellar address.

Only the opening transaction and the settlement balances are announced to the entire network when the channel is closed. All other activity between the two entities remains private and known only to them.

Current and Future Functionality

Starlight payment channels are like the ones implemented in the Lightning network for Bitcoin. The firm plans to enable multi-hop payments across the payment channels and build compatibility with other payment channel networks like Lightning and Interledger.

According to the announcement:

This preview release supports bilateral channels (channels with exactly two participants). It includes the Starlight payment channel software as well as a built-in wallet application. […]It allows transacting in lumens only (the native asset of the Stellar network). Future versions will support any asset issued on the Stellar network.

The announcement cautions that since this is an early demo release, users can expect bugs as well as frequent incompatible upgrades. It further elaborates that Starlight connects only to the testnet and not the mainnet. The application should not be used with the mainnet yet due to the risk of losing funds.

With this release, Stellar will be able to improve the throughput of the blockchain to handle a large number of transactions simultaneously, though the post did not specify the exact number. Earlier this month Live Bitcoin News had reported about the partnership between Stellar and real estate firm Colliers International.

Do you think Stellar will emerge as one of the leading blockchain’s ready for mass adoption? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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