It was described as "not a normal conference."
Sure, speakers took to the podium to present their futuristic ideas – a staple at the cryptocurrency space's many, many conferences. But the Lightning Hackday, which took place in the heart of Wall Street on October 27th and 28th, was all-in-all more of a community-led endeavor with a heavy coding twist.
Throughout the two-day event, a hackathon whirred in the background. Tiny computers called Raspberry Pis dotted the tables and developers murmured amongst themselves about how to tweak the rules of the system while also not disrupting the incentive schemes.
This eclectic setup is maybe to be expected from a group of hackers building what they hope is the future of money.
Bitcoin's lightning network is still in its early stages, but many hope it will fix bitcoin's biggest underlying problems – that it's simply too slow and clunky, and so doesn't scale well for a future of mass adoption – at least, that is, without the help of a second layer.
"For those of you who don't know, blockchains suck," Chris Stewart, an engineer at blockchain data provider SuredBits, said when kicking off his talk.
That said, he and other developers hope the lightning network will change that.
Passions were so high, in fact, that it was hard to keep track of all the different projects on the floor. But one thing tied them all together – the interest in building for the technology's potential as a payment mechanism for everyday purchases.
Indeed, Lightning Labs engineer Alex Bosworth admitted that lightning's "killer app" – what takes it mainstream – might be as simple as that.
"I don't know what the killer app is, maybe buying a cupcake is," Bosworth told attendees during his talk.Ideas, man
Bosworth, though suspects that the best ideas for using lightning haven't even been created yet.
For comparison, he argued that the early developers behind Linux, the popular...