Meet Bitcoin Lightning Devotee Dusty Daemon, our new open source developer grant recipient

written by kabloomokc

Meet Bitcoin Lightning Devotee Dusty Daemon, our new open source developer grant recipient

As part of our ongoing efforts to support the Bitcoin ecosystem we’re happy to announce that Dusty Daemon has become the latest recipient of an OKX and Okcoin open source developer grant.

Dustin is a prolific bitcoiner and Core Lightning Developer, having recently received grants from Human Rights Foundation and Superlunar to quit his Web2 day job to focus full time on open source work. Our grant to Dustin will allow him to commit fully to his work on specification and implementation development of a powerful new feature for the Lightning Network: Splicing.

Splicing is the ability to resize Lightning channels, which has a lot of user experience benefits –

  1. Unified Bitcoin Balance: No more “on-chain” and “off-chain” distinction between bitcoin and lightning! Users always get the benefits of lightning, while wallet software handles the onchain splicing payment to resize channels for the user on the fly.
  2. Increased Privacy: Allows multiple Lightning peers to splice at one time in one transaction. Similar to a “coin join,” this improves privacy and reduces transaction costs.
  3. Significantly Reduced Costs: Move funds from outwardly unbalanced channels to inwardly balanced channels without relying on paid services, vastly reducing costs for large scale operators.
  4. Seamless channel rebalancing and resizing: Managing inbound vs outbound liquidity is an incredibly complex hurdle rate for using lightning effectively. Splicing allows you to move funds in and out of channels, on and off chain, with 0 downtime.

We’re excited to advance our support of both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Lightning network by supporting Dusty. He is a talented developer and represents the best of what the Bitcoin community has to offer!

We chatted with Dusty about the future of Bitcoin, his work, and what our grant means for him – take a look 👇

Q: What brought you to Bitcoin?

A: I have been working on Bitcoin code for a long time and a few years ago I decided to dedicate myself to programming for the Lightning network. I began by learning about Lightning in depth and making contributions to the Core Lightning project. I felt particularly accomplished rooting out some complex flakiness bugs and porting the project to MacOS. You can see my work on that here:

I had heard of splicing in 2018 and saw it making the news rounds last year. On Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces bitcoiners were talking excitedly about using submarine swaps and I suggested people use splicing instead. The confused silence was palpable, no one had heard about it all.

Diving in I realized only the splicing spec had been released — no one had actually written the code! So I decided I would take on the work of coding up the first implementation.

By March of 2022 I had made the world’s first splice and published it on chain! You can see it here:

Since then I have been working on finishing up the proper & complete splice implementation. The code is now in a finished PR which you can see here:

Next I want to get the code to a polished state, build a thorough testing framework, evangelize to companies that would benefit from splicing, and bring the implementation to the other Lightning node code bases.

Q: Instead of joining a Bitcoin or Lightning-related company, you chose open source work. Why is that?

A: I thought about where I could work that would have the largest impact on Bitcoin’s future success and contributing to the Lightning protocol was the best way I could. So in 2021 I left the silicon valley rat race with whatever savings I could muster and started learning everything I could about the Lightning protocol. It was a long, rough path getting up to speed. Between surviving on ramen noodles and the overwhelming complexity of the Lightning protocol I had many pessimistic, frustrating nights. …

After years, almost all of a sudden, things started to click. I could read a spec or proposal and not only understand what it was but why it was being proposed, and sometimes I could even think of improvements! … The euphoria I get from contributing to something as important as I believe Lightning is, is incredible — I’d trade all those lost savings and sleepless nights for it all over again.

Okcoin’s (and others’) grant came in right when things were getting most dark. I was making real progress but reaching the end of where my savings could take me. It’s hard to express how grateful I really am. Truly, thank you.

Q: Why is Lightning network important to Bitcoin, and why did you choose to focus your efforts on it vs Bitcoin Core?

A: Lightning development feels very frontier, out on the edge. Ask any Lightning protocol dev if there’s more stuff to be done and they will talk your ear off with all the things they wish they could get to if their plate wasn’t already so full. Simply put: there’s a hell of a lot to be done and few people able to do it.

Obviously the Lightning network scales bitcoin payments to almost the whole world but it’s also brings the first truly trustless instant payment settlement for both parties. A lot of people use credit cards and think final settlement is everywhere but they’re only thinking as a customer. The other side of that transaction — the business receiving the funds — has to wait a few days to get it.

The fastest settlement in traditional banking is “wire transfers” which take about a day and can’t be sent on weekends.

So anyway, point is, fast & final settlement is a big deal. … In the end what we’re really building towards is a future with more freedom for humans.

Free the money and individual freedom will surely follow.