Bitcoin’s Advancing Lightning: Wumbo Gets Its Day
Earlier this year, Bitcoin launched their new lightning network transaction program to (you guessed it), make transactions happen faster.
Despite warnings from developers that the release was “reckless” because there could be bugs that cause the irreversible loss of coin within, it did not stop users’ excitement or the beginning of its use.
As it stands, there is an extreme limit to the number of users that can be on the lightning network, preventing it from becoming a worldwide resource for transactions. The fix? Wumbo.
If you don’t know, the infamous Wumbo is a made up word from the American Tv Cartoon, Spongebob Squarepants. Patrick Star describes the word for Spongebob when Spongebob (rightly) assumed it was not a real word- “Wumbology, the study of ‘wumbo’. It’s first grade, Spongebob!”
At a summit in Adelaide, Australia in November of last year, the name was chosen for the next path forward that will fix the user limit in lightning by someone attending naming it as such. Unfortunately, we will never know who is responsible unless he or she steps forward and takes credit.
“Please blame one of the persons attending the summit for this term. Unfortunately, due to rules imposed, non-attendees can only learn who to blame if that person admits this,” writes ZmnSCPxj, developer.
Naming the new lightning development ‘Wumbo’ proves that (while cautious) developers are getting ready to release it.
The bitcoin update will work like this:
“If you want to expand the limit of transaction you must type “option_I_wumbo_you_wumbo” to open a new channel with an expanded limit, and the other party must then agree to it, or it will not work. Simple enough. It will allow the users to open channels with as significant an amount as they want.”
This change has been added to the new lightning specification, 1.1, but because the changes are stilling coding up, you won’t be able to stretch the limit of lightning with Wumbo overnight. Also, it being an easy change does not guarantee its quick success because the developers are also working on other important coding works. The goal is to implement it at some point so everyday users can make their transactions and payments without a problem.
So far, lightning has become the resting place for about 574 bitcoin at a worth of $2 million but because of its “recklessness,” developers imposed a 167.77216mBTC limit on how much one channel can hold.
The hope is that more users would choose lightning once the Wumbo option of expanding that limit on a channel is up and running and once the safety of lightning is confirmed.
ZmnSCPxj has said they might get the code up “within this year” and if it’s before lightning is completely safe, they still expect there to be users who immediately jump on the chance at using it, saying “Users are reckless anyways.”
In the words of Patrick Star:
“I wumbo, you wumbo, he, she, me wumbo.”