Five merchants that use the Lightning Network
Bitcoin is a game-changing technology, but the currency could use a little assistance on its path to widespread adoption, utility, and scalability. This is where the Lightning Network becomes invaluable: a layer two scaling solution built on top of Bitcoin that enables lightning-fast transactions with lower fees. By using a network of off-chain payment channels, users can send and receive bitcoin almost instantly, without having to wait for confirmations on the blockchain.1
The Lightning Network is quickly evolving and gaining broader acceptance, with more businesses and individuals adopting the technology every day. Its importance in the evolving crypto landscape cannot be overstated. Lightning has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about money and the transfer of value.
The following merchants have integrated Lightning into their business models in creative ways, providing a glimpse into an exciting future that may not be so far off:
Travala is a travel booking platform that accepts cryptocurrencies as payment, including bitcoin, ether, and several altcoins. Travala’s use of the Lightning Network is crucial in facilitating quicker and cheaper bitcoin transactions, thus providing its customers with a more seamless and user-friendly experience.2 The company promises to connect consumers with over 2 million hotels and accommodations ready to be purchased in bitcoin.3 According to a 2021 study conducted by the brand, nearly a quarter of Americans want to use crypto to pay for a portion of their travel costs.4
2. sMiles Bitcoin Rewards
SMiles is a mobile application that rewards users with bitcoin in return for performing a variety of simple tasks. After downloading the app, individuals can choose which activities they’re interested in completing, and then instantly earn bitcoin via a channel on the Lightning Network. Rewardable tasks include playing games, taking surveys, or even just walking. As the website states, sMiles rewards “user activity and attention with fractions of Bitcoin called sats” thus creating a mutually-beneficial relationship where companies gain customers, and customers gain crypto. It’s a unique business model that is completely enabled by Lightning, and which monetizes everyday activities while onboarding new users to the world of crypto.5
Dutch online retailer BitGild allows customers to purchase gold and silver using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Conversely, users are also able to trade-in their gold and silver for crypto if they so desire. BitGild’s use of the Lightning Network enables the company to process bitcoin payments almost instantly and with lower fees, making it a more convenient and cost-effective payment option. In addition, Lightning allows BitGild to offer options such as micropayments and recurring payments6, which in turn make it easier for their customers to purchase smaller amounts of gold and silver. The site bills itself as “one of the largest gold shops in Europe.”7
Bitrefill’s platform allows users to purchase gift cards, phone refills, and other digital products using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The instant and affordable transactions enabled by Lightning make for a friendly, enjoyable shopping experience. In addition, the Lightning Network’s ability to process microtransactions quickly and efficiently enables Bitrefill to cater to customers who may not have large amounts of bitcoin to spend, but who still want to make purchases with their bitcoin holdings.8
OpenNode is a payment processing company that specializes in bitcoin and Lightning Network payments. They allow businesses (including some on this list) to easily and securely accept bitcoin payments from customers all over the world. OpenNode’s use of the Lightning Network has allowed them to provide faster transaction times and lower fees when compared to traditional payment processors. Additionally, their platform offers advanced features such as automatic payment conversions and payment routing, making it easy for businesses to seamlessly integrate the Lightning Network into their existing infrastructure.9 OpenNode’s commitment to using LN has helped to advance the adoption of this technology in the payments industry and has made it easier for businesses of all sizes to accept bitcoin.
Just ask a Lightning enthusiast, and they’ll tell you: the significance of this rising technology is immeasurable. Its appeal is simple, yet entirely fundamental to the development of a more efficient and capable future economy. In a nutshell, the Lightning Network saves time and money: two of business’s most valuable resources. That simple promise opens the gateway for an infinite number of use cases. Want to earn money for taking a walk? Buy a block of gold? Visit Japan? Lightning can facilitate that—and its utility is only expanding as more brilliant investors, entrepreneurs, and tech geeks enter the field.