Towards Bitcoin Payment Networks

  • Patrick McCorryEmail author
  • Malte Möser
  • Siamak F. Shahandasti
  • Feng Hao
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9722)


Bitcoin as deployed today does not scale. Scalability research has focused on two directions: (1) redesigning the Blockchain protocol, and (2) facilitating ‘off-chain transactions’ and only consulting the Blockchain if an adjudicator is required. In this paper we focus on the latter and provide an overview of Bitcoin payment networks. These consist of two components: payment channels to facilitate off-chain transactions between two parties, and the capability to fairly exchange bitcoins across multiple channels. We compare Duplex Micropayment Channels and Lightning Channels, before discussing Hashed Time-Locked Contracts which enable Bitcoin-based payment networks. Finally, we highlight challenges for route discovery in these networks.


Route Discovery Block Height Active Branch Lightning Channel Payment Transaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Christian Decker, Joseph Poon and Rusty Russell for reviewing this paper. We also thank the participants of the lightning-dev mailing list for their insightful discussions. This work is supported in part by the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant (No. 306994) and the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) under grant agreement No. 13N13505.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick McCorry
    • 1
    Email author
  • Malte Möser
    • 2
  • Siamak F. Shahandasti
    • 1
  • Feng Hao
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computing ScienceNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany

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