Since we have listened to Livera's podcast and haven't heard anything about these nice projects like Blixt, Simple Bitcoin Wallet, OBW (and some others maintained by Fiatjaf), we decided to make our own "Year in review" and tell about ourselves even more who we are and what we do.
We start with sad facts,
How Russian Aggression in Ukraine Disrupted LN Tech
Anton Kumaigorodsky, the developer behind Bitcoin Lightning Wallet (BLW) and Simple Bitcoin Wallet relying on IMMORTAN became a soldier because Russia invaded Ukraine in March. The maintenance of the IMMORTAN LN library and application development was picked up by Fiatjaf who lately made a light client for Hosted Channels protocol and Core Lightning plugin. While IMMORTAN and SBW are finished pieces of software, there was one less obvious technology which couldn't survive war conditions.
It was Public Hosted Channels feature of the Eclair Hosted Channels plugin and SBW Immortan library which allowed to form auxiliary graph in addition to normal LN graph for enhanced routing of payments sent from each SBW wallet connected to Eclair host with PHC. These channels weren't backed by bitcoins onchain and by that represented pure credit relations inside the network for the sake of increased routing on all other non-PHC chanenls of the host. PHC overlay network couldn't exist without trust. People shouldn't be big friends but initial network consisted from operators with relationship history besides defined rules for PHC node to be accepted by the peer. With the start of the war one of the major players who maintained SBW wallets backend couldn't keep virtual channels open and it was critical for the network of 4 participants.
PHC experiment was a success because there was non-zero routing and it really worked. However, it won't be continued for some other reasons related to Eclair, too.
Fiat Channels Work
This is probably the most important conclusion for us after a year of operation. We need to improve our tech although we see it as simpler and more robust alternative to DLC/Bitcoin backed "stable channels". The space became crowded in 2022. We saw Galoy building similar solution to ours, 10101, former ItchySats presented their wallet and entered short list of Lightning Legends. We will continue working on Asset Channels which imply more various assets being issued on top of Lightning Network and for that we will need a new client. Hopefully we will be able to add Hosted Channels into other LN clients.
We were lucky in the past year. We have build a special service for FTX exchange but haven't deposited significant funds. FTX scam demonstrates that using these markets is the wrong way for Bitcoin company but we think that realistically there are not so many ways to get an access to liquid markets. We will try to catch up with new projects coming into space like Fuji.money or Bitmatrix which should allow trustless operation at least for such entities as us, Galoy Cashu or Fedimint token issuers. We believe that our model is not really worse than stablecoins in their present form on Ethereum, Tron or Binance chain. We think that our moder is better because we build on Lightning.
Valet App -- full functional LN wallet with Fiat Custodial Channels