The Lightning Network Explorer website was created to display the topology of the Bitcoin Lightning Network, by listing all known nodes. The website uses the free geoip.net API to estimate the geographic location of the nodes. However, this depends on the public IP announced by the node, which may not be accurate.
Since Explorer is connected to the Lightning Network, it is important for users to understand what Lightning Network means. The Lightning Network (LN) is a scalable payment network that operates on the Bitcoin-Blockchain. The platform is trustless, peer-to-peer, and instant, giving participants the opportunity to conduct cheap and faster payments.
How Lightning Network Explorer Operates
On the Explorer website, participants can run Lightning Network nodes any time. Running a Lightning node is similar to running a Bitcoin node. Explorer works through several independent implementations that work together such as c-lightning, eclair, and Ind. For your information, ACINQ is the developer of eclair.
Lightning Network Explorer transactions are not publicly broadcast. Instead, they are encrypted and channeled from the payer to the payee through intermediate nodes. The process is similar to that of onion routing protocol. As a result, the explorer network provides significant privacy improvements compared to regular blockchain-based transactions. In the end, no transaction is visible on the Explorer.
Lightning Network Explorer Features
As noted earlier, the Lightning Network leads to scalable instant Bitcoin-Blockchain transactions. Utilizing smart contracts to process faster payments, the following are the key features of the network:
The network provides lightning-fast payment processing on the Blockchain and eliminates block confirmation times. The smart contracts on the blockchain enhance security without creating a blockchain-based transaction for individual transactions. The payment speed ranges between milliseconds and seconds.
Owing to the lightning-speed of the network, it is able to process between millions and billions of transactions per second across the network. With this feature, users can now attach payment per action or click without involving custodians.
By working off-blockchain, the Lightning Network uses very low fees, which prompts the emergence of use cases like instant micropayments.
The Lightning Network enables cross-chain atomic swaps, which can take place off-chain and instantly. The network makes it possible to make trustless transactions across blockchains, as long as the chains can sustain the same cryptographic hash function.
Lightning Network Explorer Conclusion
The Lightning Network depends on the underlying technology of the Blockchain. By utilizing Bitcoin-Blockchain transactions, followed by smart contract scripting, users are able to create a safe network and to conduct high-volume payments at high speed.
Through bidirectional payment channels, two users can create a ledger entry on the blockchain, which requires them to sign off on any spending of funds. Besides, both parties can create transactions that refund the ledger entry to their individual allocations without broadcasting them to the blockchain. This is where the Explorer website comes into play.
In the end, both users can update their personal allocations for the ledger. They can do this by creating several transactions spending from the current ledger entry output. For more information about the Lightning Network, visit: lightning.network