The lightning network has been a trending topic in the blockchain space recently. The lightning network is one of the projects in the blockchain space that I’m quite passionate about. The lightning network itself is also quite easy to understand for the average consumer, but let’s do a quick overview of what the lightning network is.
So what exactly is the lightning network?
To keep it simple, lightning is a decentralized network using smart contract functionality in the blockchain to enable instant payments across a network of participants.
By using real blockchain transactions and using its native smart-contract scripting language, it is possible to create a secure network of participants which are able to transact at high volume and high speed.
Imagine being able to receive your paycheck almost instantly from your employer. That’s the power and goal behind the lightning network.
What’s even more powerful about the lightning network is their native blockchain technology that other blockchain companies can build on top of.
Let’s go over a few companies that’s leveraging lightning network’s technology.
ACINQ is probably one of the most popular blockchain companies that’s building on top of the lightning network.
The company recently released “Strike” a few months back. Strike is an API and dashboard that makes it easy to accept Lightning payments instantly. Fee is 1% and automated withdrawals are free.
With Strike, receiving Lightning payments will look very familiar to any web developer: it boils down to making an API call and listening to a webhook event.
To keep it simple, ACINQ will receive payments on your behalf, aggregate them, and periodically send an on-chain bitcoin transaction to your wallet allowing companies to receive payments instantly.
Japanese startup Nayuta Inc. is another company that’s testing lightning network’s technology.
The company partnered with the third largest electric utilities provider in Japan, Chubu Electric Power Company, in order to experiment with the possibility of using Blockchain technology to record the charging of electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrids.
The Lightning Network is set to be used for charging micropayments for the electricity.
Nayuta’s will be developing a charging outlet where users could hypothetically see the charge history of the electric vehicle as recorded to the Blockchain through their mobile app.
While this company is still in beta, it is building a cryptocurrency wallet on top of the Lightning Network.
With the Zap wallet, you’re able to trustlessly send and receive bitcoin instantly with minimal fees via the Lightning Network.
Most of us have heard of Woocommerce or have used it for their website. Woocommerce is an ecommerce solution that allows you to create your own store and sell digital or physical products directly within WordPress.
Woocommerce has a plugin for the Lightning Network that allows you to accept payments instantly using Lightning’s technology.
- Bitrefill: Recharge prepaid phone cards with Bitcoin and Litecoin
- Y’alls: Read and write articles, with Lightning Network micropayments
- LNCast: Lightning Network Podcasts
- Block & Jerry’s: Virtual ice cream shop
- adWatcher Microservice: Earn satoshis by watching ads or video content
- Bard: Simple paywall for watching a music visualizer
- CoinMall: Buy & sell digital products with cryptocurrencies.
- Free DNS Demo: Purchase subdomains with off-chain payments.
- Zigzag: Cryptocurrency trading using Lightning (custodial)
- Lightning Faucet: Receive free testnet Bitcoin (or Litecoin)
- lnd.fun: Panel for webmasters to manage their full lightning node.
- kibana: Visualization of the Lightning Network
- 1ML: Lightning Network search and analysis engine
- WooCommerce Plugin: Gateway plugin to accept Lightning payments at WooCommerce stores, built on LND
- LND Explorer: demo for a web interface for LND. Code on Github
- Light-weight LND Dashboard: A lightweight web client for LND.
- LightningJ: A project intending to simplify the integration of Lightning implementations for Java developers, containing simple to use API implementations and converters between JSON and XML.
- LightningTip: Library to accept tips via the Lightning Network
- Slack tipbot: Custodial Slack tipbot
- CoinTippy: Custodial tip bot available on multiple platforms, including Reddit, Twitter, and Telegram.
- Hammercoin: A role-playing game using Lightning for in-game payments
- Sarutobi: A game with Bitcoin and blockchain-based game items. Release announcement
- Bitquest: The first Minecraft server denominated in cryptocurrency. CoinJournal article
- Lightning Gem: Betting game using Lightning for payments
- Thunderdice: Off-chain SatoshiDice
Eclair is a Scala implementation of the Lightning Network built by ACINQ
- Eclair app: on desktop and Android
- Starblocks: Virtual coffee shop
- Strike: Stripe-like Lightning payment aggregator API (custodial)
- Lightning Conductor: A service for converting Lightning balances to BTC and back without having to close or open channels, currently on testnet.
c-lightning is a specification-compliant LN implementation in C, under the Elements Project
- Blockstream store (mainnet): Bitcoin paraphernalia that can only be purchased over LN.
- Lightning Charge: A drop-in solution for accepting lightning payments
- Week of Lapps built on Lightning Charge by Nadav Idgi.
- Nanopos — A simple point-of-sale system for fixed-price goods
- FileBazaar — A system for selling files such as documents, images, and videos
- Lightning Publisher for WordPress — A patronage model for unlocking WordPress blog entries
- Paypercall — A programmer’s toolkit for Lightning that enables micropayments for individual API calls
- Ifpaytt — An extension of paypercall that allows web developers using IFTTT to request payments for service usage
- Lightning Jukebox — A fun demo that reimagines a classic technology for the Lightning Network
- Nanotip — The simple tip jar, rebuilt to issue Lightning Network invoices
- BitcoinLightning.shop: Shop with Bitcoin Lightning, built on BTCPay and the c-lightning WooCommerce Plugin
- Elaine Ou’s Twitter bot: Pay for likes, retweets, and follows
As you can tell, this is just the beginning of the Lightning Network. There’s a lot more to come as developers jump on the bandwagon.
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