Built on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain is a second protocol layer, called Lightning Network. As a payment channel network, it allows instant and virtually unlimited transactions among peers.
On the Lightning Network, two parties can trade assets by opening micropayment channels off-chain, through digital signatures. Only when the channel is closed, does the Bitcoin Blockchain record the final balance of all transactions, and hashes it into a block. The Lightning Network has spurred a plethora of proof-of-concept projects to develop decentralized Lightning Applications (LAPPs), supporting real-life adoption of Bitcoin, and integrating with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Blockchain companies are going head to head to establish global market dominance, calling on regulators to examine ways to introduce compliance standards - to protect investors without halting innovation.
Security Token Offerings (STOs) propose ownership of underlying assets on regulated crypto-exchanges. Blockchain startups turn their value-chain into tokens, and sell them in exchange for equity, dividends, profits, or interest. The crypto-crowdfunding model provides investors with the speed and reliability of Blockchain, within a framework of legal protection against fraud.