Instant, low-cost micropayments protocol.

Blockstream is a major contributor to this exciting technology alongside other industry leaders and independent developers.

What is the Lightning Network

The Lightning Network is a new protocol layer built on top of Bitcoin. It uses cutting-edge smart contracting to achieve faster-than-VISA transaction throughput, while retaining the peer-to-peer nature of the Bitcoin protocol.

Not only does the Lightning Network enable faster, cheaper Bitcoin payments, it opens up a world of microtransaction use-cases that are not possible within the traditional financial system.


The Lightning Network reduces Bitcoin transaction times and fees.
This is achieved by reducing the number of transactions that need to be forever stored on the blockchain. Instead, funds are held in smart contract “payment channels,” and transactions are exchanged outside of the blockchain between transacting users. The final state of the payment channel balance can be broadcast to the Bitcoin network at any time, securely settling the funds on the blockchain.

Privacy and New Use Cases

Lightning makes secure global microtransactions a reality. New digital business models will become possible for the first time, from the sale of digital goods to on-demand access to online services. For more ideas, take a look at some of the Lightning Applications (LApps) we’ve built.
Transactions on Lightning are not recorded on the blockchain and are shared using onion routing by default, which provides users with a more private way of transacting bitcoin compared with standard Bitcoin transactions.

Lightning Charge

To make adopting Lightning as easy as possible, Blockstream has built Lightning Charge, an intuitive API for accepting Lightning payments. Optimized for developer friendliness, Lightning Charge supports fast and easy integration with near-zero configuration.

Lightning Charge
Blockstream Store
The Blockstream Store

Launched in January 2018, the Blockstream Store jumpstarted Lightning usage on Bitcoin mainnet. Visit the store to get your Bitcoin and Blockstream merchandise today!

Blockstream’s c-lightning

Our own open implementation of the Lightning Network protocol, c-lightning, is the go-to choice for enterprise Lightning Network deployments. It’s a lightweight high-performance implementation that’s fast to compile and easy to setup.