Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Is Not Private, Yet Today

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At Bitcoin 2022, a group of developers sat down on the open-source stage to flesh out the current state of Lightning privacy as well as to discuss shortcomings that users should be aware of and to sketch out some solutions. The panel featured Lightning protocol engineer at Blockstream Lisa Neigut, software engineer and Zeus founder Evan Kaloudis, and Bitcoin and Lightning developer Tony Giorgio.

Privacy is a common theme of Bitcoin conversations. However, the ideal that backboned the cypherpunks’ research and development for decades is not straightforward to achieve on Bitcoin. The Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s Layer 2 network for cheap and fast payments off-chain, is usually also trumpeted for its supposedly private off-chain transactions. However, achieving privacy on Lightning is not as simple as many believe.