The Lightning Network is a decentralized layer 2 payment protocol layered on top of the Bitcoin network that makes bitcoin (BTC) better by transacting off-chain, or outside of the Bitcoin network.
Blockstream, a blockchain technology company, based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, officially released the Lightning Network in 2018.
The Lightning Network depends on the underlying Bitcoin core code that runs the Bitcoin blockchain.
It creates a secure network between participants using real bitcoin transactions.
By using a native smart-contract scripting language, Lightning Network is able to process bitcoin payments instantly, without having to worry about block confirmation times.
It can handle billions of transactions per second across its network, providing near-instant financial transactions between platforms and wallets using it together.
New blocks are added to the network every minute, instead of Bitcoin’s 10-minute block time.
Since the processing is done off-chain, the Lightning Network allows for super low fees when compared with the Bitcoin network’s fees.
The Lightning Network can also offer cross-chain atomic swaps, happening off-chain instantly.