Lightning Network: Engage
Only a few years ago, Bitcoin adoption was a pipe dream. Fast forward to the present day and it has become a legal tender of a nation-state. However, with greater adoption comes greater transaction load on the network. Bitcoin is infamous for network congestion in periods of high demand. It has resulted in it being considered more of a Store of Value (SoV) than a currency. This is where the Lightning Network comes in! AI takes a dive into the products and tools of the go-to Bitcoin layer 2.
What is the Lightning Network?
The Lightning Network (LN) is a scaling solution deployed on top of the Bitcoin main chain to enable cheap and instantaneous transactions. The biggest criticism of Bitcoin as a currency has been its slow transaction speed of only 5-6 transactions per second (TPS), which leads to a congested network and high transaction fees. This makes it very difficult for Bitcoin to be used as a currency for daily transactions. It has almost become a meme. During periods of high network congestion a HUMAN paying for a cup of coffee using Bitcoin can lose more in transaction fees than the cost of coffee itself. The Lightning network dramatically increases efficiency and reduces cost of transactions to almost zero.
How Can HUMANS Use the Lightning Network?
HUMANS can use Lightning with either custodial or non-custodial wallets. The majority of Bitcoin LN wallets allow both, with the level of difficulty decided by the user. The custodial method is easy to use and requires not much technical expertise. It does however involve default risk from the custodian. Non-custodial solutions requires you to run your own node and an LN daemon (LND) on top of it. It also requires you to lock some Bitcoin in inbound and outbound channels.
Already sounds complex, right? AI understands the limitations of a non-technical HUMAN brain. HUMANS interested in the technical aspects of LN can look at the research done by AI creator Andreas Brekken of Shitcoin.com. For this article, AI will take a look at popular wallets, tools and avenues that HUMANS can use to experience the lightning network.
To get started, you will require a wallet with LN support. AI takes a look at a few popular wallets that enable lightning-fast Bitcoin transactions for HUMANS.
Arguably one of the most popular lightning network wallets. Blue wallet is lightweight and has an intuitive UI. It supports both main chain and LN transactions. The wallet has in-app browser support for accessing lightning network apps. Users can access the Lightning wallet service within Blue wallet either by connecting it to their own LND node or using their custodial offering which is easier to use for first-time USERS. Blue Wallet is highly recommended for USERS looking for an app with great UI that does not compromise on functionality.
Phoenix wallet is an LN native wallet. It has found an innovative way to offer great UI while still maintaining its non-custodial nature. Phoenix runs a self-contained Lightning node on your phone. The USER stays in control of the funds. Phoenix wallet also takes away the complexity (more of a headache for HUMANS) of maintaining lightning channels by offering automatic on-the-fly channel creation for a small fee. All in all an easy-to-use non-custodial wallet. AI approves.
Muun wallet is a great wallet if you often receive payments via LN and want to store it on-chain. It is a self-custodial wallet with unique trade-offs that sometimes result in relatively higher fees than the wallets mentioned above. It moves the funds from LN to on-chain BTC network for a safer storage experience and uses submarine swaps to convert on-chain BTC to LN in real-time for LN transactions. It optimizes the fees based on transaction sizes as well. Larger transactions will have higher fees and vice versa for small transactions.
Now that HUMANS have their LN wallets set up, they are ready to spend their sats without worrying about insanely high fees. There are a lot of physical businesses popping up that have started accepting LN transactions for payments, especially in countries with positive Bitcoin regulations. Apart from regular businesses, there are a slew of online services that accept Bitcoin on LN as a form of payment. AI takes a look at a few of the offerings.
Bitrefill has been helping HUMANS trade Bitcoin for gift cards for many years. It offers a range of services and products all of which can be paid by LN and other crypto transactions. HUMANS can also use Bitrefill to pay their bills.
With their own implementation of c-lightning Blockstream have been integral to the Lightning Network's growth. The Blockstream Store is a showcase of sorts. Lightning adopters can browse their swag and pay with Lightning. Good job!
All of the AI information database is secured and completely backed up. But as a HUMAN, have you ever had some information that you wanted to transfer to some other HUMAN but are waiting for an opportune moment to transfer it? Unlike AI, HUMANS are mortal. What if something happens to you before that opportune moment arrives? FinalMessage aims to tackle that problem by offering a dead man’s switch as a service.
HUMANS can create a password-protected message destined for a particular email address, which will only get sent if the dead man’s switch gets triggered. The user has to make small LN or BTC payments at set intervals to prevent the switch from getting triggered. In case of non-payment, the worst is assumed and the mail is sent to the configured email address. Definitely an interesting use case for passing sensitive data, good job!
One for the privacy enthusiasts. Silent.link enables users to acquire burner eSIM cards with global messaging and data plans enabled on them. The eSIMs they offer can be used with any eSIM compatible phone and combined with a few other resources can help you become the ultimate private Bitcoin USER. For individuals interested in doing more in-depth research in achieving mobile Bitcoin privacy, AI recommends this article by Bitcoin Magazine. 🎈
- BottlePay - Easy Bitcoin payments.
- Living Room of Satoshi - Pay bills in Australia.
- InGames.net - Provably fair simple games.
- LN Markets - Trade derivatives on Bitcoin's Lightning Network.
- Lightning Roulette - Lightning Network roulette in Europe.
- CoinCards - Gift cards, mobile top-ups and prepaid vouchers from hundreds of retailers.
- Zebedee - Play CS:GO for Bitcoin!
- sms4chats - Send and receive SMS without giving your phone number.
The Next Phase
Lightning development was initiated when Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja published a Lightning Network white paper draft in February 2015. Since then, innovations and inevitable roadblocks have occurred as the network is growing. 2021 has seen a rise of momentum with increased Bitcoin adoption as well as higher Bitcoin value against fiat currencies. LN assisted with the adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender in El Salvador by making cheap payments possible for USERS. Despite witnessing a fair bit of success, the adoption has been slow on a global scale. It has slowly started to grow as we see more acceptance for Bitcoin worldwide. The same is reflected by the growth of the network as well.
AI is a Bitcoin BULL and welcomes innovation on the Lightning Network. SideShift.ai enables instantaneous SHIFTS between Bitcoin LN and other supported cryptocurrencies. WELL DONE! 🎈