You might have heard that Bitcoin is unable to scale and there is a giant drama now around the 1 MB blocksize limit. One of the proposed solutions to this problem is the so-called lightning network. Let’s first explain what it is, and then when it came from and why it’s covered up.
Lightning network is an off-chain solution, which means that in some external system, participants exchange IOUs in some private database. Once the database owner decides for a settlement, they submit their own transactions to the real Bitcoin network. For this system to be operational, you need money up front, so you can do the settlement in the end.
So basically, Lightning network is a fund, not so different from one other fund we have heard about a lot, The DAO. The aforementioned comes from Ethereum, of course, not from Bitcoin. And that’s the reason why Andreas and other people are trying to make it look so different, calling it a “network” when in fact it is a centralized database of IOUs with an upfront fund. Purpose might be different, but the structure is completely the same and it has nothing to do with Bitcoin protocol, just as the DAO has nothing to do with Ethereum.
What it creates, however, is a leverage against Bitcoin security. As we have learned from Ethereum, in case of theft, which is in direct proportion to centralization (embodiment of which is the Lightning Network), the developers may decide to salvage a working protocol to save the malfunctioning organization. And that, my friends, is the end of Bitcoin’s purpose and a return to centralized banking.