For many, the Lightning Network has been viewed as Bitcoin’s answer to altcoins focused low transaction fees. It has the potential to provide the best of both worlds to cryptocurrency users in terms of payment functionality and liquidity.
There are solid reasons to believe the Lightning Network could completely replace the need for potentially-unsecure altcoins that allow for cheap on-chain transactions, and the first signs of this theory becoming reality have been found at online retailer Bitrefill (see this post for an explanation of the Lightning Network and how it may impact the altcoin market).
Bitrefill is a business that allows their customers to buy gift cards, prepaid phone minutes, and other digital goods with cryptocurrency. More recently, they’ve been helping build the infrastructure around Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
In a recent appearance on The Bitcoin News Show, Bitrefill’s John Carvalho revealed that the Lightning Network now accounts for more payments to Bitrefill than any of the altcoins they accept.
Lightning Network Payments Growing at Bitrefill
“It’s increasing every day almost,” responded Carvalho when asked to comment on the amount of Lightning Network payments received by Bitrefill.
Carvalho added that roughly four percent of their daily sales are now made via the Lightning Network, which is more than any of the altcoins on most days.
“It’s actually double most of the altcoins,” Carvalho added.
Of course, on-chain bitcoin transactions still account for the vast majority of payments received by Bitrefill.
It should be noted that Bitrefill is one of a small handful of online retailers who currently accept bitcoin payments via the Lightning Network, which means the number of Lightning Network-based transactions may be higher for them than it would be in a situation where acceptance of Lightning Network payments was more ubiquitous.
Building Tools for Lightning Users
Bitrefill has also been working on their own products and services related to the Lightning Network. Earlier this month, the company announced Thor, which is a service that opens a Lightning channel with Bitrefill’s well-connected node for a small payment. This enables the user to receive payments on the Lightning Network.
“If someone’s looking to receive bitcoin, as tips or other earnings, this is a quick and easy tool to get started. Bitrefill’s node is a highly interconnected in the Lightning network,” explained Bitrefill’s announcement blog post about Thor.
According to Carvalho, Bitrefill is also interested in creating other products and services built around Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
“We have more plans,” said Carvalho. “We’re trying to figure out more ways to offer people products like this and new ways to access the network in addition to just offering gift cards and mobile refills.”
“We’re seeing more people use [Thor] than we thought would,” he added.