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From Lightning to Liquid: Moving Between Bitcoin's Layers with Kilian from

Mar 15, 2024

From Lightning to Liquid: Moving Between Bitcoin's Layers with Kilian from

From Lightning to Liquid: Moving Between Bitcoin's Layers with Kilian from

Key Takeaways

The Stephan Livera podcast episode featuring Kilian from delves into the intersection of Bitcoin's various layers—main chain, Lightning Network, and federated sidechains like Liquid. With the rise of transaction fees on the Bitcoin main chain, users are increasingly looking to alternative layers for cost-effective and efficient transactions. emerges as a pivotal service in this ecosystem by facilitating seamless swaps between these layers, particularly catering to those who operate nodes or offer Bitcoin-related services.

Boltz started as a side project to address the challenges of onboarding users onto a decentralized atomic swap exchange that was initially lightning-based. Over time, Boltz outlived its parent project and became a primary venture, focusing on full-time development since Spring 2023. The service has gained traction as it enables users, especially professional ones such as merchants, Lightning Service Providers (LSPs), and routing nodes, to rebalance their channels for optimal liquidity management.

The platform’s core function is to allow movement between Bitcoin layers in a noncustodial and atomic manner using Hashed Time-Locked Contracts (HTLCs), ensuring that either the entire transaction processes or none of it does, thereby mitigating risks for the user. charges fees ranging from 0.1% to 0.5% depending on the direction and the layer involved, with the goal of providing cost savings, particularly in high-fee environments.

The discussion also covers the broader implications of adopting federated sidechains like Liquid, acknowledging both their utility in certain contexts and the trade-offs in terms of trust models and potential regulatory risks.

Best Quotes

  1. "So the main gig we had back in the day, which was 2018, 19... was an atomic swap exchange, but decentralized. Boltz was really born as a band-aid." - Kilian
  2. "What it really helps you as a user, we have different use cases or target users that do different things with Boltz. The main use case for most of our history was lightning channel rebalancing." - Kilian
  3. "Lightning needs flow both directions. It's designed that way." - Kilian
  4. "If you're doing dollar cost averaging... go up to amounts that you are comfortable holding in an actual wallet... Once it's $10,000 on Liquid, move out, go back to the main chain, put it in a cold wallet." - Kilian on the use of Liquid
  5. "Be more pragmatic... If [a layer] enables a much better UX for most of your users... use it." - Kilian on the approach to Bitcoin's layered scaling
  6. "The vision of Bitcoin scaling in layers, in my opinion, it's coming to fruition right now. It's happening and that's really great to see." - Kilian


This episode offers a reflective summary of the impactful dialogue between Stephan Livera and Kilian, who represents The conversation captures the nuanced perspectives on Bitcoin's layered approach, particularly focusing on the operational and technical intricacies of facilitating transactions across the main chain, Lightning Network, and federated sidechains like Liquid.

The overarching message is one of adaptation and innovation, highlighting the necessity for services like in the face of rising transaction fees and the need for liquidity management across nodes. The episode also prompts listeners to consider the implications of using sidechains with a pragmatic lens, balancing the benefits with an understanding of the associated trust models and risks.

Future discussions might explore the evolution of Bitcoin's layered ecosystem, the growing adoption of noncustodial services, and the continuous development of technologies like HTLCs that make atomic swaps possible. The conversation between Stephan and Kilian serves as a testament to the ongoing journey of Bitcoin's scalability and the community's dedication to finding solutions that uphold its decentralized ethos.


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