Lightning network… what is it?

Lightning network (LN) is currently in technology Alpha phase… i.e. it’s mostly working but only if you’re rather brave and comfortable with some form of compiling code! Realistically therefore for me personally that a fair bit outside my comfort zone. Anyhow that doesn’t stop it being something which has the potential to change the future of Crypto and in particular BTC.

To understand why LN is important you need to understand a bit about the challenges inherent in the current implementation of Bitcoin. One of the major problems Bitcoin has faced is that its technology hasn’t quite managed to scale with the adoption rate. This has been one of the causes of the recent high fees and slow transaction times. Interestingly things have improved a lot recently but still, the underlying technology of BTC means that there is a limit to the speed of confirmations. Another area of concern particularly with BTC is that there is not a lot of room in the block for additional functional like smart contracts. Other coins like ETH and NEO have been written specifically with those in mind, but BTC was never designed that way. Lightning network has the ability to change all that. Finally there is still a great deal of centralisation in the BTC world caused by the need to use Exchanges to buy and sell coins. This adds a significant amount of risk and also overhead as we pay fees to move coins to the exchange and then again to buy and sell.

Lightning network has the ability to radically change many of those issues.

The basic concept is providing layers on top of the blockchain. The thing about blockchain is that it is rather good, in fact amazingly good at providing a trust less, decentralised system whereby people can interact. However it’s pretty rubbish at storing large amounts of data. Therefore the blocks are generally kept small to limit the size and load on the network. You wouldn’t for example generally store photos on a blockchain. Instead you would store the checksum giving the ability to validate the presented photo, stored on a second tier, is unchanged from the one linked to the transaction on the blockchain.

Lightning network is an implementation of this second tier. It provides clever integration (using cryptography/hashing for integrity of data), with the blockchain but allows for other functions to live off the original chain. This has the ability to allow external data to interact with the blockchain and provide the ability to have radically more scalability… i.e. instant payments, huge numbers of payments, very cheap payments and the capability to swap one currency for another without using an exchange.

These new capabilities open up the possibility of replacing existing payment networks like VISA and Mastercard and having instant tiny payments (micro-payments) driven by automated entities. This could move us to a truly pay per use type world, where your car pays for the roads it uses, you only pay for articles you read and music you listen to direct to the creator.

For more information about Lightning Network, take a look at the articles and links below:

Fixing Images not showing in WordPress Blog

You may have noticed that I’ve not added any images to posts since I started blogging again this year. For whatever reason, images had broken completely. They didn’t show on posts, they didn’t even show in the media library where I was met by a grid of grey icons and even clicking through into the image didn’t show it. Oddly clicking to edit the image actually did show the image, so it was clearly there somewhere!

Thankfully, I finally figured out what was broken and now things are working again 🙂

There are so many posts out there about broken images but none of them seemed to fix things for me. The majority talked about these three things:

  • Disabling all Plugins and then seeing if that worked.
  • Resetting the Theme to a default WP theme.
  • Using a plugin to rebuild thumbnails.

None of those worked for me.

So in the end I decided to look back to an old post from 2010 and see if that had images also not showing. It turned out that the images didn’t work there either. That led me to believe that this was a global issue not something related to new posts. I then used the browser to show the source of the post I was looking at. That enabled me to get the actual web link to the image. When I put that in its own browser window it finally gave me a useful error message. Essentially I didn’t have permission to view the file.

With that information to go on I went looking to see what the permissions should be on the uploads directory where my images are stored. The general consensus seemed to be that 755 was suitable.

Therefore I used the following command from an SSH terminal:

CHMOD -R 0755 ./uploads

This recursively sets 755 permissions on all the folders and files in the uploads directory (assuming you’ve already navigated using the “ls” command to the folder holding the uploads directory).

Excitingly, my media library now works:

Raiblocks – Nano theft

Turns out another Exchange, this time BitGrail, has been hacked. It does rather re-enforce the very sensible guidance of don’t leave anything on an Exchange that you can’t afford to lose. BitGrail has had approx $170M of Nano (previously Raiblocks) stolen which has had rather a nasty effect on the price! Raiblocks is looking precisely like one of those investments that I rather wish I hadn’t made… I missed the big pump and got in high. I’m now just wondering if it will last the course and get back to where it was. Rather hoping it will, especially as it’s trading on Binance now as then I can look at getting out with small profit. Right now it’s at literally half the price I need it to be at to get out with profit… so we’re some way off 🙁

How low will it go?

Today has been a heck of a day, with BTC dropping down to the $7600 mark for the first time since November. To be honest though that was something that has looked possible for a while. The question now is whether it breaks that level and heads down to $5500 which was the roughly the next major level of support.

Personally I’m not too worried (I am a bit!) because in many ways a drop like this I see as an opportunity to get in again which I didn’t think I would have. Many people have said that the correction was very much needed given the ridiculous run up late last year. So all in all if we stabilise here and then start some growth that would be great. Time to watch and wait.

Of course this dip has had a major impact on the Alts too. One thought is that now is a wonderful time to pick up some bargains. I’m looking at PIVX and Crown and considering these as possible masternode opportunities. Not sure I can quite get enough together to do that but it’s an interesting thought.

Finally one Rai of light… is Raiblocks! It’s just rebranded to Nano and is doing well… remarkably it’s sitting at the level I bought in at… so there is some hope even in this market!

Time to HODL and pickup some bargains and hope that in the next few weeks after Chinese New Year things start to rally and the bad news settles down.

Some great resources to get into Microsoft blockchain projects

A really short post today as I’m out in the US with the team. Here are some really useful links which will take you to a host of Microsoft Azure related resources covering where Microsoft is headed with blockchain.

All a bit quiet…

It’s been a very quite day, strange really. Everything seems to be stuck in a small channel. At the moment holding a lot of FUN, without a way out, so we will see where that leads tomorrow!

On the plus side I’ve got the Gunbot up and running, and in theory ready to sell the FUN, so hopefully prices go up and I get a chance to see that in action.


More FUN

Patience once again… had I waiting a few more hours I would have turned the £0.90 loss into a decent £200-300 profit.

So I’m having another go, this time with a lower buy in point, staggered from 895 – 890 – 880 – 875.

I will also wait 36-48 hours as needed to hit my sell target and see where that gets me.

More later as things progress.

Patience part two.

Very quick post today as I’ve nearly missed the day. Just one further thought on patience…still not cracked it. This time regards buy-in price. I have a tendency to make a decision and jump in and buy. To be fair that’s sometimes good because at least it means that it gets done, but frankly it’s a silly error because it leaves money on the table for no reason. Realistically at the moment I still believe that the market has a long way to grow so mistakes can perhaps be forgiven more easily than in a more developed market where that could mean the difference between profit and none.

Conferences coming up…


A quick update on some up coming conferences which may be of interest to people.

Firstly Quest; The Experts Conference is taking place in Barcelona in two weeks from 22nd to 24th October at the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos.

For more information and to sign up see the link below:

I will be with two sessions on the New Exchange.

The first is on the Monday and will cover –

Exchange 2013: Archiving and Compliance Tools.

The second is first thing on the Tuesday and will cover –

Collaboration and Exchange: How to Use Shared Mailboxes, Site Mailboxes and Modern Public Folders

If you would like to see the full agenda take a look here:



I will also be speaking at the Penton lead Exchange Connections conference in Las Vegas.


For more information see the site here:

This time I will be doing three sessions as follows:

1. ESE207: The New Exchange Security and Protection – Features to save your job!

2. EAR309: Dealing with those Pesky PSTs. A Look at Archiving and Discovery in Exchange 2010 and Office 365

3. ECO306: Collaboration and Exchange: How to Use Shared Mailboxes, Site Mailboxes and Modern Public Folders

For a list of all the sessions at the conference see the link below:


Hope to see some of you at the events.