Since Lightning Labs released beta version 0.4 of the Lightning Network Daemon (LND); the Bitcoin Lightning Network has been growing at lightning fast speeds and has seen implementation into many different use cases. According to data from 1ML, a Lightning Network analytics startup company, the number of channels, nodes and the total network capacity in BTC increased by around 16% in the last 30 days alone.
So what can you do with the Lightning Network? This article will be taking a look at 7 creative and fun different use cases the Lightning network is currently powering.
One of the earliest and most commonly known use cases in this regard would be the famous Bitcoin candy machine. Back in May 2018, software developer David Knezic demonstrated this technology on Twitter.
Just finished my Bitcoin-enabled candy dispenser 🍬 pic.twitter.com/pU2xJdBIyx
— David Knezić (@davidknezic) May 27, 2018
A while later, he also demonstrated how it works:
How it works: The dispenser is USB enabled using an Arduino Micro. It’s controlled by a Raspberry Pi that runs the “sweetbit” utility. It listens for incoming transactions through https://t.co/ngvWD3oCfL and dispenses candy relative to the amount of BTC. https://t.co/AnG9e0jHXZ pic.twitter.com/ox0M7WIrOj
— David Knezić (@davidknezic) May 27, 2018
The first iteration of his candy dispenser used Bitcoin payments, but that was far too slow for an application like this. Thus, he decided to upgrade his set up in order to accept payments on the Lightning Network. In June 2018, he released his prototype:
Level up! 🆙
— David Knezić (@davidknezic) June 11, 2018
Following this, the candy dispenser was demonstrated by Coin Center to members of the U.S Congress on January 21st. Currently, it’s undergoing development in preparation for a small production run.
Nowadays, more and more games are starting to accept Bitcoin payments over the Lightning Network. Some of these include Pokemon, Roulette, and Duck Hunt.
CTO and Co-Founder of Bitcoin OpenNode, a crypto payment processor, Joao Almeida created Poketoshi, a service that allows users to play the original Nintendo game Pokemon on the Lightning Network.
The game is hosted on a live stream, in this case, it’s hosted on Twitch. From there, users enter commands into the Twitch chat that control a Lightning-powered virtual game controller. All commands cost 10 satoshis and the lightning payments are made possible using the OpenNode payment processor.
— João Almeida (@joaodealmeida94) June 19, 2018
In addition to this, Rui Gomes, another open node employee launched his own game, Lightning Spin. This game or Lightning app (lApp) allows players to bet from 1,000 satoshis to 500,000 satoshis each round.
I'm officially launching Lightning Spin, a fun bitcoin gambling game that lives on top of the @lightning network.
Spin the wheel and multiply your satoshis, with instant deposits and withdrawals ⚡️https://t.co/sDriH0vXro
— Rui Gomes (@ruigomeseu) June 27, 2018
Earlier this month (5th of February) new startup Koala Studios launched their very first Lightning Network game called Lightning Chess. This game essentially allows users to wager satoshis against their opponents and out skill them to secure a win.
in-game UI is SLEEK. pic.twitter.com/1VNPmp5pvG
— Marty Bent (@MartyBent) February 5, 2019
Another Lightning Network innovation that surfaced this month is Lightning Pizza. On February 13th, Fold, a crypto startup launched their website allowing anyone in the U.S to order dominos pizza and pay for it using Bitcoin on the Lightning Network.
You can now buy Domino’s Pizza via the Lightning Network for *5% off* from anywhere in the US with <$0.01 fees, instant transactions and ~30 min delivery. Get it while it’s hot at https://t.co/3tn7O9eexo 🍕⚡️ pic.twitter.com/zvco9xU7mC
— Lightning Pizza (@LN_Pizza) February 13, 2019
To emphasize, here’s a testimonial from one of many happy customers:
So @ln_pizza is pretty awesome. Works flawlessly and instant. Now I’ve bought stickers, a shirt, sweatshirt and now pizza with layer two magic internet money. What an excited time to be alive! ⚡️ #bitcoin #LightningNetwork @Blockstream @lightning @bluewalletio @dominos pic.twitter.com/WDnTP91eOG
— Justin Filson (@JustinFilson) February 14, 2019
According to an article by CryptoGlobe in December 2018, Dave Jenkins, a black taxi driver in London was carrying a small point-of-sale terminal in the back of his cab. Accordingly, he was enabling people to buy bitcoin in his cab, or pay for their journey using bitcoin. Apparently, this touch screen device “can process cash-based transactions in exchange for bitcoins in real time, then print a paper receipt, much like a credit card reader at your local coffee shop.”
You can’t get a lot easier than that, can you? If you try and mess about registering with Coinbase or Bitstamp or whatever, you know all these different things, it’s a lot of aggravation to send off your passport blah blah blah. Even a lot of bitcoin ATMs—they want your phone number and all that.
Just 10 days ago (February 18th); it was reported that the ‘crypto cabbie’ Dave Jenkins started using FastBitcoins in order to accept payments for any cab journeys using the Bitcoin Lightning Network. In light of this, Dave Jenkins said:
There’s no two ways about it, Bitcoin doesn’t scale to be used as a day-to-day currency. Even if you could put a cab journey or a cup of coffee on a blockchain for all time, why would you really want to? You need the Lightning Network and I am a big fan of its potential.
Another Lightning Network use case would be Tippin, a service that launched this month. Sergio Abril, Spanish video game designer made an extension for Google Chrome and an Add-on for Firefox that allows users to tip people on twitter. In short, it works by adding a ‘Tippin’ button to every tweet that shows up on your feed, allowing you to send someone satoshis if they entertain or enlighten you with a tweet.
Another key point is that this project originally started out as a personal hobby of the same name, with the aim of increasing adoption and awareness of the growing Bitcoin Lightning Network. Then, On February 6th, Abril sent out this teaser:
— Tippin⚡️ (@tippin_me) February 6, 2019
A week later, he released Tippin to the public allowing everyone to send and recieve tips via the Lightning Network. On the 20th of February, CEO of twitter Jack Dorsey chimed in on what he thought about this new project:
— jack (@jack) February 20, 2019
In addition to this, Abril is planning on adding support for other social media platforms in the future.
An interesting use case for the Lightning Network is micro auctions. Specifically, the least expensive artwork in history. It was sold in December 2018 for one millisatoshi to the lowest bidder in a ‘micro auction’. At the time, it was worth around $0.000000037.
To enumerate, the artist, Cryptograffiti demonstrated the creation of his artwork in a tweet:
— cryptograffiti (@cryptograffiti) December 19, 2018
He also decided to explain what motivated him to create this artwork and auction it off for a single millisatoshi:
I created black swan for two reasons:
1. poke fun at MSM's focus on Bitcoin's price, and not the groundbreaking technology being built
2. help spread awareness about the lightning network
The promise of micropayments was instrumental in my becoming an artist in the space. 2/6
— cryptograffiti (@cryptograffiti) December 19, 2018
Similarly, a more recent case of this is the story of a 9 year old Boy, Dennis, who wanted to buy a Nintendo Switch. Accordingly, his dad told him he had to work for the money and earn it himself, and set him up a WordPress website called Lightning Pictures. Powered by OpenNode, users can buy Dennis’ art using the Lightning Network. Once you’ve paid; the drawing you requested via Lightning will be emailed to you.
Currently, Dennis offers two options to his customers. They can either get a Quick Sketch for 29,000 satoshis (~$1.19) or a Awesome Picture for 290,000 satoshis (~$11.92).
The Lightning Network is used for many creative things involving live streams. For example, in this use case we have the feeding of animals. PolloFeed, a ‘Bitcoin Lightning Powered Chicken Feeder’. PolloFeed gives users the ability to use the Lightning Network in order to pay to remotely feed some chickens.
Now, people can send money via the Lightning Network and instantly see it go to use. What better way to spend satoshis than to feed chickens across the globe?
Thank you all! ~ 100 orders yesterday
POLLO FEED will only continue to improve over time as we look to:
* Expand the pollofeed fam (~5 more chickies)
* Scale server to handle afternoon traffic demand
* implement real time video pic.twitter.com/2zXyosCMkB
— pollo feed (@pollofeed) February 23, 2019
The Lightning Network is one of the most exciting innovations to enter the cryptocurrency space in a while. Thus, I believe that in time, it will develop and grow, eventually becoming far greater than what it is now. For now, all these use cases are just people testing the waters and figuring out this new technology.
All things considered, what do you think about the Lightning Network? Are you running your own full node? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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