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As the Bitcoin Lightning Network comes to life thanks to the work of various professionals that committed themselves to make it happen, the need for an interface that will communicate the technology to users also arises. Throughout this study, we will discuss what is the current situation of that interaction between users and Lightning payments; we will comment on the design process of creating an interface thinking about the people for whom it is for and, consequently, propose the main elements that should figure in a usable application; and, lastly, we will review three different existing projects (the wallets HTLC.me, Zap and Eclair) that are still on development but are some of the main known efforts for creating user interfaces for the Lightning Network.
The research and the preparation of this written material were conducted between February 16th and the end of March, 2018. The timeline below gives a sense of perspective with two other important events for the Lightning Network development.
As a new piece of technology that is to be plugged on Bitcoin, the Lightning Network has the potential to vastly improve Bitcoin's — and, possibly, other cryptocurrencies that adopt it — scalability and user experience by creating new possibilities and use cases; which concedes it enough relevance to be specifically researched in order to improve Bitcoin and related technologies as a whole.
My objective with this compact study is to contribute with the Lightning Network adoption and user experience by analyzing some of the expected changes — if any — in usability that may be felt by users and presenting some possible approaches to make this adaptation a smooth and comprehensible process.