The Lightning Network is fascinating and its potential doesn't cease to amaze everyone. Understanding how it works is a long and complex journey that should start by exploring the Basic’s of Lightning Technology (BOLTs) which define the LN protocol.
Going through the BOLTs can be a complicated and extensively long task so we decided to construct a framework that would make it easier for everyone to understand it. We present a minimalistic approach (BTC maximalist also :D) to understand how the Lightning Network works through brief descriptions and visual links between each BOLT except for the #10 and #11. We did not include these last two since we consider that they are not crucial for the understanding of the technology. We have included the essentiality of the purpose and aim of all the other BOLTs. However, this diagram does not include all the intricacies and deep explanations of the original publication of BOLTs on GitHub. We recommend everyone to read them to deeply understand the protocol of the Lightning Network. This recommendation especially stands for future Lapps developers.
For a deeper understanding of the BOLTs, one must be able to follow and understand how they are linked between them since they are very related. Therefore, the current enumeration of the BOLTs doesn't indicate the exact order in which they must be understood.
Ongoing changes and enhancements are introduced almost daily in the Lightning Network GitHub repository. It is necessary to scrupulously follow these to be up to date. You can also join the mailing list to be at the forefront of Lightning Network development.
All information was gathered from the BOLTs descriptions in the Lightning Network specification repository on GitHub. In addition, a technical vulgarization article on the BOLTs published on Medium by Rusty Russell, a renowned programmer now contributing to the BOLTs and the c-lightning implementation developed by Blockstream, served as an inspiration in the construction of our visual framework and we highly recommend everyone to follow his work. It is important to keep in mind that his article stops at the the BOLT # 7.
Rusty Russell's Article :
We would really appreciate feedback and comments so that we can improve this visual framework and our future content.
February 8, 2019