After the releases of the first Raiden Network proof of concept over two years ago, the Raiden testnet in 2017, and the project's second testnet this past summer, the Red Eyes alpha has at last been deployed on the Ethereum mainnet. The Raiden team welcomes individuals to test the network "by doing token transfers and taking part in [the] bug bounty."
Raiden is a second-layer solution designed to improve Ethereum's scalability and privacy. The payment network relies on state channels, which facilitate transactions off chain and then submit the state changes to the main chain. This setup is designed to improve transaction speeds while reducing costs.
A couple of key features of the Red Eyes alpha include the "[o]pening, topping up, closing, and settling of payment channels" as well as "[s]ingle and multi-hop transfers." There is also an upgraded protocol to deal with edge cases, gas-efficient EDCCs (aka smart contracts), and a redesigned web user interface, among other features.
Moreover, Raiden has implemented various safety measures to help protect users, as Red Eyes is in alpha testing, and the security of the network has not been audited by a third party. Accordingly, the team has limited deposits to 0.15 ETH per channel; the sum of all channel deposits is limited to 250 ETH; there is only one available token network, WETH (wrapped Ether); and there is a deprecation switch, allowing Raiden to close the network if a major security issue arises.
The Raiden Network is like Bitcoin's Lightning Network (LN) in enabling quick off-chain transactions. The main difference is that because Raiden is on Ethereum, a full implementation of the network would be compatible with all ERC20 tokens, whereas the LN is limited to Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Implementations of the LN, though, have been live on Bitcoin for some time. For example, Lightning Labs' LN beta was released in March. It appears that Raiden is finally catching up.