David Marcus, CEO of Lightspark, a company that builds business-grade solutions to facilitate payments on top of the Lightning Network, shared his experience in developing on top of the Bitcoin scaling layer. Marcus stated that it is “incredibly complex and hard to build software around this protocol,” acknowledging the constraints the Lightning Network presents for builders.
Lightspark CEO David Marcus Acknowledges Lightning Network Constraints for Builders
David Marcus, CEO of Lightspark, a company that builds payments solutions on top of the Lightning Network, a second-layer scaling platform for Bitcoin, has given his opinion about the challenges that building on top of this protocol presents for companies.
Marcus, a veteran in the payments arena who was president of Paypal, head of Novi at Meta, and part of the Diem Board of Members, says Lightspark decided to build around the layer-2 protocol due to the “unique qualities” Bitcoin presents as an underlying network. However, he declared:
Building on Lightning and Bitcoin is likely at least 5x harder than building with other protocols. It’s so incredibly complex and hard to build software around this protocol.
Rigidity and Difficulty
Marcus attributes part of this difficulty to the rigidity of Bitcoin and the problems of changing its structure to include new code in its base layer, to accommodate the needs of specific solutions. On this issue, he stated:
Bitcoin layer 1 is incredibly rigid. Getting a new opcode to mainnet is almost mission impossible. Constraints are what they are.
However, instead of considering this difficulty a problem and abandoning the protocol to use other, less complicated chains, Lightspark took it as a challenge to build a payment solution that would be relevant “100 years from now.” Marcus concluded:
We recommitted ourselves to building on Bitcoin Lightning, and to doing whatever it took to realize its fullest potential. Because it’s time for the world to have a universal open protocol for payments.
Marcus is not the first to recognize the intricacies and overall difficulties of producing software around the Lightning Network. Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, also stated that including Lightning Network services on Binance’s platform was “more complicated” than it might appear, due to the utilization of on-demand invoices, different from pre-generated addresses.
Fiatjaf, a Bitcoin developer and the creator of the decentralized social protocol Nostr, also recently criticized the Lightning Network, calling it an “inelegant pile of ugly and complicated hacks.”
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