Sprites and State Channels: Payment Networks that Go Faster Than Lightning

  • Andrew MillerEmail author
  • Iddo Bentov
  • Surya Bakshi
  • Ranjit Kumaresan
  • Patrick McCorry
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11598)


Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, as deployed today, cannot support more than several transactions per second. Off-chain payment channels, a “layer 2” solution, are a leading approach for cryptocurrency scaling. They enable two mutually distrustful parties to rapidly send payments between each other and can be linked together to form a payment network, such that payments between any two parties can be routed through the network along a path that connects them.

We propose a novel payment channel protocol, called Sprites. The main advantage of Sprites compared with earlier protocols is a reduced “collateral cost,” meaning the amount of money \(\times \) time that must be locked up before disputes are settled. In the Lightning Network and Raiden, a payment across a path of \(\ell \) channels requires locking up collateral for \(\varTheta (\ell \varDelta )\) time, where \(\varDelta \) is the time to commit an on-chain transaction; every additional node on the path forces an increase in lock time. The Sprites construction provides a constant lock time, reducing the overall collateral cost to \(\varTheta (\ell + \varDelta ).\) Our presentation of the Sprites protocol is also modular, making use of a generic state channel abstraction. Finally, Sprites improves on prior payment channel constructions by supporting partial withdrawals and deposits without any on-chain transactions.


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Copyright information

© International Financial Cryptography Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Miller
    • 1
    Email author
  • Iddo Bentov
    • 2
  • Surya Bakshi
    • 1
  • Ranjit Kumaresan
    • 3
  • Patrick McCorry
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Cornell TechNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.VISA ResearchPalo AltoUSA
  4. 4.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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