The Raiden Network, an Ethereum scaling solution, released a new version of its testnet today. The Raiden Network aims to do for Ethereum what Lightning is doing for Bitcoin: it intends to drive down transaction costs, increase transaction speed, and generally make Ethereum more spendable:
“The Raiden Network is an off-chain scaling solution, enabling near-instant, low-fee and scalable payments. It’s complementary to the Ethereum blockchain and works with any ERC20 compatible token.”
Today’s release of version 0.5.0, codenamed “Tanacetum”, is part of a series of weekly testnet updates. These releases began in July and will continue as the team works toward their “promised summer mainnet release”, which is expected in the next several weeks.
Tanacetum includes major changes that break compatibility with previous testnets. A new database format and redeployed smart contracts mean that users of the 0.4.x series of testnets must upgrade their software and migrate their user data.
Other new features include an optimized number of recovery snapshots, a lookahead strategy that will ensure that the user has enough gas to afford a payment, and better transaction handling on restart.
The update also fixes a few bugs—notably, the client should now be compatible with Infura, a third-party Ethereum node.
Finally, the word “transactions” has been replaced with the term “payments” for reasons of clarity.
A Desperately Needed Solution
Although these changes are mainly of interest to technical users and developers, they are small steps toward a desperately needed scaling solution, as Ethereum has had high transaction fees in recent months. Although Ethereum’s setbacks are nowhere near as severe as the problems Bitcoin has faced during the worst of times, Ethereum is facing bottlenecks fairly often, especially when blockchain games and other dApps go viral.
But no matter what merits it may have, the Raiden Network won’t solve Ethereum’s spendability issues if it is not adopted. Supporters have complained about the project’s poor publicity and lack of a marketing team. The Raiden Network must now compete with Sharding and Plasma—two scalability projects that are significantly more high-profile—despite the fact that they are more distant solutions.