Improving The Privacy Of The Lightning Network’s Gossip Protocol Today

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This is an opinion editorial by Shinobi, a self-taught educator in the Bitcoin space and tech-oriented Bitcoin podcast host.

The Lightning protocol works by atomically updating payments across multiple payment channels in such a way that everything confirms or fails all together — i.e., it routes payments across multiple hops. An integral part of any routing-based system is a routing table, a collection of all the information necessary to actually construct a path from point A to point B. Without this information, you can’t really route anything anywhere because you don’t know how to get the information from where it is to where you want it to go. Lightning obviously requires a routing table, which is what the gossip protocol specified in BOLT 7 accomplishes; the propagation and maintenance of the record of channels available on the network to route payments through.

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