Even if the Bitcoin lightning network just started sending transactions over Bitcoin’s blockchain, developers are already looking for ways to improve the technology.
This is because even if the network improves the capacity of the Bitcoin blockchain greatly, the network requires the storage of a significant amount of data. This makes downloading and running the software difficult. This is why Laolu Osuntokun, the co-founder of Lightning Labs, Rusty Russell and Christian Decker from Blockstream have come together to publish a new proposal.
This proposal is called Eltoo. It is a simplified alternative for making off-chain transactions. It doesn’t just condense the data that will be stored by users buy it also secures cryptocurrency for the users.
Significant unnecessary data can be problematic for users. If they accidentally broadcast old data, they can lose money. This is why this excess data is called toxic information.
Eltoo, will only store the most recent data for off-chain transactions thus solving the asymmetry problem.
According to Christian Decker:
“Eltoo reduces the risk of losing funds by eliminating toxic information.”
He also noted that the name of the proposal was formed as a joke. It represents L2 which means layer two of the lightning protocol. According to Decker, the project is personal to him because he has experienced this problem before:
“I have had a bad experience before. I restored a lightning node in my laptop but I did not know it wasn’t the newest state. A guy closed the connection and stole the old state.”
The Problem of Transaction Overload
For a long time now, developers have been looking for ways to allow multiple Bitcoin transactions without loading the blockchain with unnecessary data. This is typically the primary topic in most scaling debates.
Their first attempt was with the creation of sequence numbers that would keep a record of recent off-chain transactions. However, this mechanism failed because the miners had no reason to enforce those rules or replace old transactions