The biggest problem facing blockchain platforms today is scalability and cost of transactions. In this light, Interstellar set off to work on a platform that would add an extra layer to the Stellar network. Therefore, the firm announces a preview release of Starlight, a bi-directional payment channel focused on adding scalability to Stellar.
Unlike usual payment on the Stellar network, Starlight facilitates faster payments with no cost. In particular, the channel does not require the usual publishing of details on the network for all users to consent. Usually, it takes a bit of time for the whole network to come to a consensus. Also, it costs some Lumens (XLM) to acquire the consensus, which makes the process costly and time-consuming.
Preview Release of Starlight Suggests Faster Transactions
In contrast, Starlight is a private network that does not publish details of transactions on the Stellar network. Instead of publishing details on the network, the payment channel uses it for what Interstellar calls “lock up.” In particular, the network locks up some funds with which the payment channel can complete transactions.
Using the locked up funds, users of the payment channel can settle transactions without further involvement of the network. As a result, transactions on the payment channel are costless, instant, and private.
In terms of security, Stellar explains that the channel is very secure. In a blog post the company explains,
“The security of the channel is ensured by special information exchanged between the participants with each payment. This information includes signed Stellar transactions that are not published to the network until one party chooses to close the channel.”
Interestingly, Starlight strikingly resembles Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. They both support off-chain transactions which publish on the mainnet after the payment channel closes. Further, they both take off pressure from the main network, hence facilitating scalability.
However, Starlight goes a step further in terms of securing the payment channel. According to the Starlight team, they will further enhance its compatibility with Lightning Network, and others like Interledger.
Even as Interstellar announces the preview release of Starlight, the solution is still in test-mode and can only connect to Stellar’s testnet. “Until we work out the kinks, Starlight connects only to the Stellar testnet, not the mainnet, to eliminate the risk of losing real funds to a software bug,” Interstellar forewarns. Therefore, the team cautions users not to connect Starlight to the Mainnet.
Further, the solution only supports transactions in Lumens (XLM). Support for other cryptocurrencies will come later. However, Starlight will only support cryptocurrencies on the Stellar Network.
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