This will give you a basic understanding of the lightning network, how it works, and where exactly it fits in the Bitcoin ecosystem
The lightning network is very new and some interesting use cases have come to the surface. It is definitely not for everyone and you need some technical expertise to get under the hood. Simply using it however is now quite simple.
This is short multiple choice quiz to cement the concepts we covered.
In early 2019 there are but a few real-life implementations of the lightning network. The majority use for the network is mostly novelty or experimental
Your first step to using the lightning network is to get a wallet that can handle lightning network payments. The simplest way is to use a wallet such as Bluewallet, where you create a non-custodial bitcoin wallet first and then derive a custodial lightning bitcoin wallet from the original bitcoin wallet.
Fund your BTC wallet with bitcoin and then refill your lightning wallet in-app.
(You can also do the above the long way round and be fully sovereign by setting up your own lightning network node.)
These are like swift terminals used by banks. The nodes facilitate the exchange and settlement within limits (channel) between trusted parties (node operators).
The lightning network is very much in its infancy still. The small userbase currently consists mostly of novelty users and beta testing. The landscape is however rapidly changing. Online games have been a popular choice for early adopters of the technology.
The lightning network is very much still experimental but you can accept live payments in various ways using the lightning network. The most obvious point to start for anyone interested in being a part of the pioneering group of users can do so by exploring GitHub