What is Liquid Network?

How do I get liquid Bitcoin?

The Liquid Network, launched by Blockstream in 2018, is a side chain solution built on top of Bitcoin. It functions as a separate blockchain but is pegged to the main Bitcoin blockchain. Liquid Network aims to address limitations of Bitcoin’s scalability and privacy. Therefore, it facilitates faster and more confidential transactions among participating exchanges and traders.

How Liquid Network Works

Bitcoin on the Liquid Network is referred to as L-BTC or Liquid Bitcoin. Think of it like converting your dollars to store credit at a department store – it’s the same underlying value but allows for faster, private, and more convenient transactions within that specific network.

The operational mechanics of Liquid Network are designed to address the inherent limitations of the Bitcoin network, particularly in terms of transaction speed and privacy. Transactions on the Liquid Network are processed much quicker than those on the Bitcoin network. Liquid blocks are added every minute with precision, contrasting Bitcoin’s probabilistic 10-minute block times. Moreover, just two confirmations are adequate to finalize the settlement of a transaction. This expedited settlement is made possible by employing a federation of trusted members, a group of geographically dispersed cryptocurrency businesses, to validate transactions, a departure from Bitcoin’s proof-of-work mining system.

Participating users initiate transactions on the Liquid Network by locking up their Bitcoin in a process known as peg-in. This involves depositing Bitcoin into an address generated by the Liquid Network. Once this deposit is confirmed, users are issued an equivalent amount of L-BTC, which allows them to transact seamlessly within the Liquid Network. Notably, Liquid transactions offer enhanced privacy features, such as confidential transactions and the ability to issue new assets, ensuring that only the sender and receiver are privy to the amount being transferred.

To retrieve their Bitcoin back from the Liquid Network, users must undergo a process known as peg-out. This entails depositing their L-BTC back into the Liquid Network before the Bitcoin is returned. It’s worth noting that currently, the Liquid Network only facilitates the return of Bitcoin to verified addresses, adding another layer of security and verification.

Blockstream Explorer is a tool you can use to view information about transactions happening on the Bitcoin and Liquid blockchains. It’s essentially a search engine for these blockchains.

How to Get Liquid Bitcoin

Acquiring Liquid Bitcoin (L-BTC) can be accomplished through various methods. One approach is to swap Bitcoin for Liquid using platforms like SideSwap and Bisq. Alternatively, you can purchase L-BTC directly with fiat currency through wallets such as Aqua or exchanges like Bitfinex, Peach Bitcoin, Bull Bitcoin, and BTSE. Additionally, borrowing L-BTC against Bitcoin is possible through services like Lend at Hodl Hodl. Moreover, you can convert Lightning to Liquid using platforms such as Boltz or Coinos.

Another avenue to acquire Liquid is through a Peg-In process, which requires both a Bitcoin full node and a Liquid node for secure completion. During a Peg-In, you send their Bitcoin to a specified address and receive an equivalent amount of L-BTC on the Liquid Network in return.

Liquid Network vs Lightning Network vs Bitcoin on Chain

The Liquid Network and the Lightning Network both aim to improve Bitcoin’s scalability and privacy, but they do so in different ways. While Liquid Network relies on a federated model and Liquid side chain, Lightning Network employs off-chain payment channels to enable instantaneous micropayments. Lightning Network doesn’t currently support asset issuance. On the other hand, Bitcoin on-chain transactions remain the most secure but are slower and less private compared to both Liquid and Lightning.

Benefits of Liquid Network

The Liquid Network offers these benefits:

  • Faster Transactions: Liquid Bitcoin transactions are faster settlement times compared to Bitcoin’s main chain.
  • Enhanced Privacy: Confidential transactions and the ability to issue assets provide improved privacy for users.
  • Interoperability: Liquid Network facilitates interoperability between exchanges and enables the issuance of new digital assets.

Drawbacks of Liquid Network

Despite its advantages, there are a few drawbacks. They include:

  • Centralization: Liquid Network’s federated model relies on a group of trusted validators, which some argue compromises decentralization.
  • Trust Requirement: Users must trust the functionaries selected by participating members to validate transactions.
  • Limited Adoption: As a relatively new technology, Liquid Network’s adoption is not as widespread as Bitcoin itself.

List of Liquid Network Wallets

Several wallets support Liquid, including the following:

List of Exchanges and Platforms Supporting Liquid Network

The following are some of Bitcoin exchanges and platforms that support the Liquid Network:

Is Liquid Network a Solution?

The Liquid Network presents a compelling solution to the scalability and privacy challenges faced by the Bitcoin network. By offering faster transactions and enhanced privacy features, it stands as a significant advancement in the realm of cryptocurrency transactions. However, it also introduces certain trade-offs, such as centralization and trust requirements. The federated model introduces some centralization compared to Bitcoin’s main chain.

Nevertheless, with continued development and adoption, the Liquid Network could play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Bitcoin transactions, offering users a more efficient, private, and secure means of conducting transactions on the blockchain.

Andy Owethu Avatar

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