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Lightning strikes daily: How the Lightning Network transforms the bitcoin experience

In a growing number of countries, Bitcoin has an increasing utility, powering daily life. At the core of this transformation is the Lightning Network (LN). Offering blazing-fast transactions with minimal fees, the LN transcends crypto as a niche hobby, proving its real-world utility.  

Transactions on the Lightning Network continue to grow as people use bitcoin for personal, gaming, business, and everyday expenses. Over the last two years, activity on LN has grown by over 1,200%, driven in large part by business payments. Using LN gives many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) a unique selling proposition over competitors, while accepting bitcoin opens up new revenue streams.1 

Now, get ready to experience how the Lightning Network is transforming everyday activities across the globe. From morning coffee to online shopping, let's dive into how the LN streamlines payments for both consumers and businesses, using bitcoin as a medium for democratizing finance and payments worldwide. 

Brewing convenience: Your morning java via Lightning 

Imagine your first stop of the day is the local café. As you pick up your usual, there's no hassle of waiting for a credit card to clear or calculating change. A quick scan of a QR code and your payment is complete, thanks to the Lightning Network's speed and low transaction fees. This capability is doubly helpful when traveling — as a global currency, there is no need for dealing with cumbersome exchanges and the costs that accompany them. 

From the consumer's standpoint, the benefits of using bitcoin are plentiful, including minimal transaction fees, zero banking charges, and the potential for discounts and loyalty rewards. But business owners aren't left out either.  

They also enjoy lower processing fees, instantaneous access to funds, and a customer base broadened to include crypto-savvy consumers seeking out Lightning Network-compatible establishments. Plus, the speed of transactions virtually eliminates the issue of chargebacks. 

By addressing both sides of the transaction, the Lightning Network streamlines your morning ritual, making your coffee stop quicker and more efficient for everyone involved. 

Fast track: Lightning Network speeds up your daily transit 

After you've secured your morning buzz with BTC, it's time to grab the subway, train, or bus to work. But instead of worrying about whether your transport card is loaded or fumbling for cash or change, a QR code scan is all you need for immediate boarding. Via the Lightning Network, your BTC wallet is automatically debited and you're well on your way. 

This not only saves you time and hassle on the way to work, but makes the system more efficient for both you and the transport agency. For commuters, instant transactions mean no more waiting, and the borderless nature of Bitcoin eliminates any need for currency exchange. This is especially useful for international travelers. 

But the advantages go beyond convenience. The Lightning Network is easier on the environment than traditional payment processing systems. For instance, emissions from producing one electric vehicle equate to 129,704 Lightning transactions.2 The Lightning Network takes your daily commute from a mundane necessity to an efficient, eco-conscious experience. 

Birthday blitz: Gift-giving in a Lightning flash 

After you've comfortably boarded public transit, a thought strikes you. Your best friend's birthday is around the corner, and you haven't even begun to think about what to get. You want to send them some cash, but since they live abroad, you're stuck wondering what the best way is to send your gift without incurring massive fees or long delays. 

Then you remember that your friend is also crypto-savvy, and you have their Lightning Address saved on your phone. With just a few taps on your smartphone, your BTC birthday present is on its way, internationally, instantaneously, and with negligible transaction fees. Gone are the days of payment apps that take a cut, or having to wire money during banking days. 

Typically, the median cost, or fee rate, of sending money via the Lightning Network is 1,000 times cheaper than that of major payment processors. That's great for not only gift-givers, but merchants who accept digital payments for things like flower deliveries and e-gift cards.3 

This modern approach to gift-giving makes the Lightning Network a game-changer, ensuring that well-intended gifts aren't eaten up by fees or delays. 

Lunchtime lightning: Savor more, wait less 

You've arrived at the office. After a successful morning, it's noon and you and your colleagues are ready for lunch. You find yourself at your go-to eatery, which recently integrated the Lightning Network into its payment system. Paying for your meal is effortless, a scan and a tap, and you're settled.  

For regular patrons using bitcoin, the establishment offers digital loyalty rewards and exclusive discounts. You simply pay, stack your rewards, and go about your workday without having to fuss with cards or paper money. And business owners experience the same cost-savings as above, avoiding costly credit card processing fees. 

Lower transaction fees can mean higher profits, and the speed of Lightning payments allows for quicker table turnover, fitting more customers into a busy lunch hour. And when it comes to gathering customer insights, Lightning allows for data collection that respects individual privacy. 

Both diners and restaurateurs win, and you leave the eatery satisfied with your well-spent Satoshis. 

Strides and Satoshis: Quick tips for street performers 

During your leisurely afternoon walk back to the workplace, you come across a local street musician offering an impromptu performance. To show your appreciation, you scan their Lightning-enabled QR code and send a tip. It's instant and elegant, eliminating the need for loose change or any sort of cash handling. 

Because the Lightning Network doesn't have a minimum transaction value — unlike most traditional payment systems — giving as little as 50 cents to the street performer is fast, easy, and extremely cheap.4 

Light up the night: Fine dining and night out 

It's Friday evening and you're finally ready for the weekend, so you kick things off with dinner at one of your favorite restaurants. Since some fine-dining establishments today are beginning to adopt the Lightning Network, you simply settle the bill and move on to the next hot spot by paying with BTC on your phone.  

There's no giving the server your credit card, waiting for them to run it, then signing a receipt. If you're a tourist in that situation, the benefits of LN multiply even further, as you'll avoid all costly international banking fees or charges associated with using your cards abroad. Plus, you'll dodge any unfavorable currency exchange rates or local banking fees. 

The same speed and convenience extend as you and your friends head to the bar. Entry fees and drink tabs are settled instantaneously, allowing you to focus on enjoying your night rather than waiting for transactions to process. Restaurants and clubs then get to differentiate themselves on social media, showing off their acceptance of the Lightning Network.5 

Cart to couch: Lightning-fast e-commerce 

Lightning Network isn't just for restaurants or physical storefronts. Whether you want to spend the next day renewing a streaming subscription to chill on the couch or snag the latest fashion deals online, LN streamlines all transactions. The adoption rate among e-commerce platforms is rising due to faster transactions and reduced operational costs. 

How Lightning Network is powering the future of payments 

From your morning coffee to your late-night online shopping, the Lightning Network is more than a tech innovation. It's a daily lifestyle change that offers instant transactions and minimal fees. It redefines routines and makes financial exchanges efficient for everyone.  

Businesses that are able to capitalize on this brave new world of instant payments will be among the first to reap the benefits—and their customers will thank them for it. Whether you're a diner benefiting from low fees or a restaurant enjoying quicker turnover and new revenue streams, the Lightning Network is steadily transforming how we interact with money every single day. 

This does not constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell, or otherwise transact in any investment, including any of the product(s) mentioned herein, or an invitation, offer or solicitation to engage in any investment activity. This information is provided solely on the basis that you will make your own investment decisions, and Bakkt does not take account of any investor's investment objectives, particular needs, or financial situation. It is strongly recommended that you seek professional investment advice before making any investment decision.

1 River. “Research Report: The Lightning Network Grew by 1212% in Two Years."Accessed October 2023. 

2 Bitcoinist. “BTC + The Lightning Network 's Energy Consumption Vs. The World, A Comparison." Accessed October, 2023. 

3 CoinTelegraph. “Bitcoin Lightning Network is 1,000x cheaper than Visa and Mastercard: Data." Accessed October, 2023. 

4 DeFi Planet. “A Complete Guide on How Bitcoin Lightning Network Works." Accessed October, 2023.  

5 Bitcoin Lightning. “EnergyKitchen Now Accepting Lightning Network Payments."Accessed October, 2023.