“Be excellent to each other please!”
— Lightning-dev mailing list welcome message

Two and a half years ago I read a paper which, once I finally understood it, opened my eyes to what bitcoin could be. I felt compelled to implement it, and I spent a year experimenting, refining and playing with the concepts.

Other engineers were also inspired, and Joseph suggested we collaborate on a specification; this is the kind of thing I’ve done before and so it seemed natural. We had a summit in Milan; we came out with a draft, but I had no idea how much work there was still to do.

Since then we’ve had multiple draft refinements, biweekly (5:30am!) conf calls: this was a marathon, not a sprint. Several times I’ve despaired at keeping up with the brilliance of the contributors; they often corrected my dumb mistakes and patiently explained new refinements. Only once did it get heated: I got frustrated debating the endianness of chain hashes, only to finally figure out that I was totally wrong. Fortunately I could draw on my vast prior experience of making a fool of myself, and my immediate apology was accepted.

We announced the first mainnet interoperability test, and the first spec release candidate today. This development community has been inspiring, helpful, friendly and fun; everything you could want in a growing project! Thankyou, and to the new contributors rolling in: welcome!


Celebrating Lightning Development was originally published in Blockstream Engineering Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.