A project aiming to scale ethereum via off-blockchain payment channels could enter production this year.

Speaking at Construct 2017, CoinDesk’s developer conference this week, Ameen Soleimani, a software engineer at ethereum startup ConsenSys, gave a presentation on Raiden’s current status in which he described this as a 2017 goal.

The Raiden network, an open-source developer effort being spearheaded by developer Heiko Hees, was first discussed as a way to bring micropayments to the platform in 2015.

Soleimani said work on the protocol implementation is “largely finished”, adding that a minimum viable product is likely to be completed as soon as the end of the first quarter.

The news comes amid broader work on payment channels within the blockchain space, particularly in relation to bitcoin.

Raiden bears similarities to the Lightning Network, a payments channel concept for bitcoin that a number of developers are working on. (San Francisco-based startup Lightning Labs published its first implementation release of the concept earlier this month).

As previously reported by CoinDesk, proponents of the Raiden initiative see it as a way to encourage machine-to-machine payments, using the ethereum blockchain as a settlement layer.

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