Led 01

Bluewallet Lets You Send Bitcoin Lightning Payments from Your iPhone

Bluewallet appears to be setting the bar for the next generation of Bitcoin wallets. Available for both Android and iOS, it is the first to integrate the Lightning Network (LN) for super-quick and “unfairly cheap” transactions.


First Bitcoin Lightning Wallet on iOS

It should be mentioned that this review is largely aimed at users who are either not tech-savvy enough or don’t have have the time or both (like me) to set up their own Lightning nodes.

I’ve used a few iOS Bitcoin wallet apps over the years and all of these have their pros and cons. However, as far as simplicity, ease-of-use, and security are concerned, I can confidently say that Bluewallet is the best iOS Bitcoin wallet app I ever used. 

It combines the latest Bitcoin technology (SegWit, LN, Replace-by-fee etc.) with some nifty security features (plausible deniability) alongside the simplest user experience to date.

Note: Bluewallet did not pay me for this review and never contacted me.

I recently found out about this app, which was launched in early December, on Twitter. The wallet caught my attention since this is the first open-source Bitcoin wallet for iOS that supports Lightning Network so I decided to check it out.

As far as I can tell, it is the first wallet that allows you to:

  • Refill the LN wallet with an on-chain transaction without closing/opening a new one
  • Backup (export) the LN wallet with a QR code/URL
  • Use the same LN wallet across multiple devices

It should also be mentioned that while you control the BTC wallet’s private keys, the LN part is custodial by default running Bluewallet’s LNHUB+LND. But, if you already have your own LND node, you can run LNHUB software yourself (it’s open-source) by entering your URL in the Lightning wallet settings.

Not Many Options for iOS

Just like many other people, my first ever Bitcoin wallet experience was with Blockchain wallet in 2014. It was one of the first Bitcoin wallets available for both Android and iOS mobile platforms.

Currently, I’ve been using Edge wallet (formerly known as Airbitz) for the sole reasons that it is ‘secure’ (you control the private keys) and one of the few that supports SegWit (cheaper transactions) along with many altcoins like Monero and Ethereum.

While I believe Edge is one of the best wallets available for iOS today, I miss the watch-only address feature that Blockchain wallet always had — so there were always tradeoffs.

Watch-only addresses let you — as the name implies — only see the balance of your cold-storage wallets. So even if your Ledger Nano S is buried in a nuclear bunker, you could still safely monitor its balance from afar.

However, security should be paramount to every Bitcoin user. Thus, controlling your own private keys is a must and since there weren’t a lot of options for iOS – Edge wallet it was. (I’ve also tried the popular BRD wallet but I wasn’t a fan).

Blown Away By Simplicity

Setting up a wallet in Bluewallet took less than 20 seconds and you have a choice between a regular HD (hierarchical deterministic) wallet or SegWit. You can also import an existing wallet using your seed.

Done. Creating the Lightning wallet is just as quick.

You then have an option to encrypt (recommended) your wallet’s privet keys with a single password. This makes the experience similar to signing up for a new Gmail account — which makes the entire process very easy and familiar, particularly for those new to Bitcoin.

There’s also a genius feature against $5 wrench attacks called Plausible Deniability.

Next, you’ll need some coin to play with. So refill your Bluewallet by sending an on-chain transaction with some BTC from another wallet. If you don’t have any — it’s possible to buy bitcoin (from Changelly) right from the Options menu.

The whole interface is the cleanest and most intuitive I’ve used to date. The wallet also lets you set a custom transaction fee when sending bitcoin.

Replace-by-fee is another useful feature. If you ever set a fee that is too low — you now have the option to set a higher fee (after you already clicked ‘send’) and speed up the transaction. 

Lightning Network Works But…

So I sent about $4 to my new BTC wallet. About 20 minutes lates after all the confirmations (at least 2), I sent about a few bucks in bitcoin to ‘refill’ my new Lightning address.

Bluewallet notes that your LN wallet is intended for day-to-day transactions because they’re faster and “unfairly cheap.”

After about five confirmations, the LN wallet had satoshis in it and was ready to strike. However, since only one LN wallet can be set up in the app (for now), it was impossible for me to try sending sats back and forth within the app.

So I told my friend to try it. Unfortunately, the LN wallet doesn’t yet support receiving (invoicing) lightning payments yet, so we were unable to send any Satoshis between each other.

Luckily, I did manage to send an LN payment of six cents to read a full article on Yalls.org. This went through instantly and without a problem as clicking ‘check payment’ on Yalls immediately showed that the payment has been sent.

A Glimpse into the Future of LN Payments

Using this wallet gives a glimpse into the future of paying with Bitcoin as LN grows and all the software issues are ironed out. Once LN payments will become seamless, using it should become second nature as transactions are literally instant at almost zero cost.

This should provide a great solution for merchants and in-store payments (e.g. Starbucks) as it eliminates the problem of having to wait for on-chain confirmations – a common criticism of using Bitcoin at brick-n-mortar locations.

Moreover, legacy digital payments (credit cards, Venmo etc.) are already instant and ‘cheap’ for users so the breakthrough will not come from speed. However, LN is not only “unfairly cheap” but also allows sending less than a satoshi – the smallest unit in Bitcoin. This means users are already sending tiny fractions of a penny, as recently reported by Bitcoinist.

Therefore, I believe, this technology will create new opportunities for online micro-payments and monetization of digital content, which could be a game-changer in the Information Age. In the meantime, however, this wallet will make it possible to ride a Lightning scooter.

Or maybe a Lightning beer?

Shortfalls

There are admittedly some shortfalls with Bluewallet. Though most of these gaps are expected to be filled later.

For example, the biggest problem right now is the inability to receive LN payments and make withdrawals from the LN wallet back to the BTC wallet. Therefore, you should only test the LN wallet with a small sum since you will not be able to get the satoshis back to your on-chain Bitcoin wallet (for now).

Software developer Irek Zielinski explains that upcoming versions of Bluewallet will support invoicing, which means bidirectional LN transactions.

Another issue is the lack of PIN or Touch-ID/Face-ID support. Though understandably, a lack of PIN code make it easier to use for the average joe, I’d like to at least have the option to set up a PIN code for accessing the app or some kind of 2-factor authentication for extra security.

Other features in the pipeline include:

  • Batch TX – the ability to pay multiple addresses with a single transaction, saving on fees and optimizing blockspace usage.
  • MultiSig TX – enhanced security as each transaction requires M of N signatures (with keys stored on different physical devices with BlueWallet).
  • Plugging in your Bitcoin Core node for “maximum sovereignty.”

These additions should make Bluewallet, hand down, the best wallet for both iOS and Android users and Bitcoin businesses, in particular. In whole, this is a great wallet if you’re looking to have the latest security features, ease-of-use, Lightning payments, and tired of waiting for Samourai Wallet to be released for iOS.

Have you tried Bluewallet? Share your experience below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Úno 10

Australian Banks Indirectly Help Bitcoin By Boycotting Apple Pay

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Mobile Payment

The mobile payment sector is heating up, as every company and financial institution are scrambling to launch their platform in the near future. Over in Australia, it will not be smooth sailing for Apple Pay by any means, as the country’s major banks continue to boycott the popular mobile payment solution. NAB was among the first to launch their own mobile app, and now ANZ Mobile Pay is here as well. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is creating a far less fractured payment ecosystem around the world.

Also read: Diamond Market Meets Bitcoin Through Bitcoin.de

Apple Pay Battle in Australia Becomes A Lot Harder

Even when consumers might be preferring to use Apple Pay for their mobile purchases, they will be unable to do so unless their bank participates in the project. In Australia, the likelihood of being able to pay with Apple Pay is becoming is becoming much smaller on a monthly basis, as the country’s major banks keep boycotting this solution.

Similar to the struggles Apple is facing in Canada; bank participating remains a key issue in Australia. There is a lot of friction between all parties, only because the technology giant is looking to take a slice of interchange revenues in these countries. Needless to say, in this day and age of financial turmoil, banks are even less keen on sharing their revenue with other players.

Now that ANZ, one of Australia’s four major banks, has released their mobile payment application for Android users, things are looking even more bleak for Apple Pay. Making payments through ANZ Mobile Pay requires the user to tap their card against the phone, enter the date of birth and mobile number, and then choose their preferred payment option.

This process will have to be repeated for every individual card ANZ customers want to link to the mobile solution. However, with the wide variety of credit and debit cards that are supported, some customization is possible. Furthermore, ANZ Mobile Pay users can withdraw money using their phone at several ATMs supporting contactless withdrawals.

Although it is a positive sign to see major banks focusing some of their attention on the mobile ecosystem, this plethora of different apps is creating a fractured world of payment solutions. In the end, the consumer will not benefit from all of these solutions, as they prefer a streamlined system without too much hassle.

Bitcoin is Streamlined And Globally Available

Unlike these mobile payment solutions requiring bank participation, the Bitcoin ecosystem is very much streamlined. In fact, it would be difficult not to streamline it, as there is no unnecessary mingling by third parties, banks, or governments. This is one of Bitcoin’s major strengths, as it carries on unencumbered by these woes.

Getting one’s hands on Bitcoin has become easier over time as well. Most countries have one or more Bitcoin exchange, there are Bitcoin ATMs, and even peer-to-peer trades are a possibility. Plus, with the limited amount of coins in circulation, there is a chance for a value increase down the line.

What are your thoughts on banks releasing their own mobile payment solution? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: ANZ

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, ANZ

The post Australian Banks Indirectly Help Bitcoin By Boycotting Apple Pay appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Australian Banks Indirectly Help Bitcoin By Boycotting Apple Pay

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Led 22

Bitcoin Crowdfunding Can Learn From Kickstarter Android App

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Mobile Crowdfunding

Kickstarter has been the center of attention for quite some time now in the crowdfunding world, despite some obvious flaws with the way business is handled at certain times. At the same time, there are far too many users who see this platform as a cheap shopping mall for the latest gadgets, which is far from the case. Now that Kickstarter released its Android app, consumers will have additional options to back innovative projects. Bitcoin-based crowdfunding platforms could use such an app too in the future.

Also read: A Q&A With Kalpesh Patel: Bringing Bitcoin to the Hotel Industry With BookWithBit

Supporting Kickstarter Campaigns With an Android Phone

Financially contributing to your favorite crowdfunding campaign requires users to log onto a computer, and fill in their credit card information when making a contribution. The new Kickstarter Android application looks to streamline that process, as the main goal of this release is to make crowdfunding that more convenient than it has ever been before.

By giving users the options to pledge funds to any crowdfunding campaign from the comfort of their mobile device, things will get a lot more interesting for Kickstarter. At the same time, one could argue the point this will also hurt consumers wallets all the more, as impulse purchases take place through mobile devices more often compared to other payment solutions.

As one would come to expect from such an Android app, the main focus lies on discovering new projects, as well as showcasing Kickstarter’s activity feed. By using this feed, users will see updates from their favorite campaigns, as well as which projects any of their friends have shown an interest in. Now that Kickstarter users can browse the platform on both iOS and Android, things are looking quite good for crowdfunding in general.

However, some educational efforts regarding Kickstarter campaigns are still needed. Consumers need to be aware of the fact that pledging financial aid to a project is not without its share of risks. Not every campaign is successful in delivering the advertised product or service, and getting funds back can be quite the hassle. Not all campaigns are spelling doom and gloom, though, as most of them turn out just fine.

Bitcoin Crowdfunding Needs A Mobile App

The concept of crowdfunding has crossed over the world of Bitcoin and digital currencies, although efforts have not been as successful as Kickstarter for example. Equity crowdfunding platforms seem to do fairly well so far, primarily because they let any qualified investors back a company in exchange for a share of their equity.

Converting this experience to the mobile ecosystem might help put Bitcoin crowdfunding on the global map in the years to come. Not just the equity crowdfunding part itself, but also making regular contributions to art projects, video game developers, and the likes.

What are your thoughts on Bitcoin crowdfunding in general? Should there be more options that just equity crowdfunding? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Engadget

Images credit of Kickstarter, Shutterstock

The post Bitcoin Crowdfunding Can Learn From Kickstarter Android App appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Bitcoin Crowdfunding Can Learn From Kickstarter Android App

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