BIPs are already the Bazaar style of evolution that simultaneously
allows flexibility and coordination/interoperability (since anyone can
create a BIP and they create an environment of discussion).

BOLTs are essentially one big BIP in the sense that they started as a
place for discussion but are now more rigid. BOLTs must be followed
strictly to ensure a node is interoperable with the network. And BOLTs
should be rigid, as rigid as any widely used BIP like 32 for example.
Even though BOLTs were flexible when being drafted their purpose has
changed from descriptive to prescriptive.
Any alternatives, or optional features should be extracted out of
BOLTs, written as BIPs. The BIP should then reference the BOLT and the
required flags set, messages sent, or alterations made to signal that
the BIP's feature is enabled.

A BOLT may at some point organically change to reference a BIP. For
example if a BIP was drafted as an optional feature but then becomes
more widespread and then turns out to be crucial for the proper
operation of the network then a BOLT can be changed to just reference
the BIP as mandatory. There isn't anything wrong with this.

All of the above would work exactly the same if there was a bLIP
repository instead. I don't see the value in having both bLIPs and
BIPs since AFAICT they seem to be functionally equivalent and BIPs are
not restricted to exclude lightning, and never have been.

I believe the reason this move to BIPs hasn't happened organically is
because many still perceive the BOLTs available for editing, so
changes continue to be made. If instead BOLTs were perceived as more
"consensus critical", not subject to change, and more people were
strongly encouraged to write specs for new lightning features
elsewhere (like the BIP repo) then you would see this issue of growing
BOLTs resolved.

Ariel Lorenzo-Luaces

On Wed, Jun 30, 2021 at 1:16 PM Olaoluwa Osuntokun <> wrote:
> > That being said I think all the points that are addressed in Ryan's mail
> > could very well be formalized into BOLTs but maybe we just need to rethink
> > the current process of the BOLTs to make it more accessible for new ideas
> > to find their way into the BOLTs?
> I think part of what bLIPs are trying to solve here is promoting more loosely
> coupled evolution of the network. I think the BOLTs do a good job currently of
> specifying what _base_ functionality is required for a routing node in a
> prescriptive manner (you must forward an HTLC like this, etc). However there's
> a rather large gap in describing functionality that has emerged over time due
> to progressive evolution, and aren't absolutely necessary, but enhance
> node/wallet operation.
> Examples of  include things like: path finding heuristics (BOLTs just say you
> should get from Alice to Bob, but provides no recommendations w.r.t _how_ to 
> do
> so), fee bumping heuristics, breach retribution handling, channel management,
> rebalancing, custom records usage (like the podcast index meta-data, 
> messaging,
> etc), JIT channel opening, hosted channels, randomized channel IDs, fee
> optimization, initial channel boostrapping, etc.
> All these examples are effectively optional as they aren't required for base
> node operation, but they've organically evolved over time as node
> implementations and wallet seek to solve UX and operational problems for
> their users. bLIPs can be a _descriptive_ (this is how things can be done)
> home for these types of standards, while BOLTs can be reserved for
> _prescriptive_ measures (an HTLC looks like this, etc).
> The protocol as implemented today has a number of extensions (TLVs, message
> types, feature bits, etc) that allow implementations to spin out their own
> sub-protocols, many of which won't be considered absolutely necessary for node
> operation. IMO we should embrace more of a "bazaar" style of evolution, and
> acknowledge that loosely coupled evolution allows participants to more broadly
> explore the design space, without the constraints of "it isn't a thing until N
> of us start to do it".
> Historically, BOLTs have also had a rather monolithic structure. We've used
> the same 11 or so documents for the past few years with the size of the
> documents swelling over time with new exceptions, features, requirements,
> etc. If you were hired to work on a new codebase and saw that everything is
> defined in 11 "functions" that have been growing linearly over time, you'd
> probably declare the codebase as being unmaintainable. By having distinct
> documents for proposals/standards, bLIPs (author documents really), each new
> standard/proposal is able to be more effectively explained, motivated, 
> versionsed,
> etc.
> -- Laolu
> On Wed, Jun 30, 2021 at 7:35 AM René Pickhardt via Lightning-dev 
> <> wrote:
>> Hey everyone,
>> just for reference when I was new here (and did not understand the processes 
>> well enough) I proposed a similar idea (called LIP) in 2018 c.f.: 
>> I wonder what exactly has changed in the reasoning by roasbeef which I will 
>> repeat here:
>> > We already have the equiv of improvement proposals: BOLTs. Historically
>> > new standardization documents are proposed initially as issues or PR's when
>> > ultimately accepted. Why do we need another repo?
>> As far as I can tell there was always some form of (invisible?) barrier to 
>> participate in the BOLTs but there are also new BOLTs being offered:
>> * BOLT 12:
>> * BOLT 14:
>> and topics to be included like:
>> * dual funding
>> * splicing
>> * the examples given by Ryan
>> I don't see how a new repo would reduce that barrier - Actually I think it 
>> would even create more confusion as I for example would not know where 
>> something belongs. That being said I think all the points that are addressed 
>> in Ryan's mail could very well be formalized into BOLTs but maybe we just 
>> need to rethink the current process of the BOLTs to make it more accessible 
>> for new ideas to find their way into the BOLTs? One thing that I can say 
>> from answering lightning-network questions on stackexchange is that it would 
>> certainly help if the BOLTs where referenced  on web page 
>> and in the whitepaper as the place to be if one wants to learn about the 
>> Lightning Network
>> with kind regards Rene
>> On Wed, Jun 30, 2021 at 4:10 PM Ryan Gentry via Lightning-dev 
>> <> wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> The recent thread around zero-conf channels [1] provides an opportunity to 
>>> discuss how the BOLT process handles features and best practices that arise 
>>> in the wild vs. originating within the process itself. Zero-conf channels 
>>> are one of many LN innovations on the app layer that have struggled to make 
>>> their way into the spec. John Carvalho and Bitrefill launched Turbo 
>>> channels in April 2019 [2], Breez posted their solution to the mailing list 
>>> for feedback in August 2020 [3], and we know at least ACINQ and Muun 
>>> (amongst others) have their own implementations. In an ideal world there 
>>> would be a descriptive design document that the app layer implementers had 
>>> collaborated on over the years that the spec group could then pick up and 
>>> merge into the BOLTs now that the feature is deemed spec-worthy.
>>> Over the last couple of months, we have discussed the idea of adding a 
>>> BIP-style process (bLIPs? SPARKs? [4]) on top of the BOLTs with various 
>>> members of the community, and have received positive feedback from both app 
>>> layer and protocol devs. This would not affect the existing BOLT process at 
>>> all, but simply add a place for app layer best practices to be succinctly 
>>> described and organized, especially those that require coordination. These 
>>> features are being built outside of the BOLT process today anyways, so 
>>> ideally a bLIP process would bring them into the fold instead of leaving 
>>> them buried in old ML posts or not documented at all.
>>> Some potential bLIP ideas that people have mentioned include: each lnurl 
>>> variant, on-the-fly channel opens, AMP, dynamic commitments, podcast 
>>> payment metadata, p2p messaging formats, new pathfinding heuristics, remote 
>>> node connection standards, etc.
>>> If the community is interested in moving forward, we've started a branch 
>>> [5] describing such a process. It's based on BIP-0002, so not trying to 
>>> reinvent any wheels. It would be great to have developers from various 
>>> implementations and from the broader app layer ecosystem volunteer to be 
>>> listed as editors (basically the same role as in the BIPs).
>>> Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
>>> Best,
>>> Ryan
>>> [1] 
>>> [2] 
>>> [3] 
>>> [4] bLIP = Bitcoin Lightning Improvement Proposal and SPARK = 
>>> Standardization of Protocols at the Request of the Kommunity (h/t fiatjaf)
>>> [5] 
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Lightning-dev mailing list
>> --
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