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Automatic Bitcoin Micropayments Are Coming to Lightning Network

With the introduction of Joule Allowances, the Bitcoin network takes one step closer to achieving its potential for automated micropayments and ‘streaming money.’


Joule Allowances Enables BTC Auto-Micropayments

Since its inception, Bitcoin has been trying to live up to its promise of being an enabler of frequent, low-value, instant payments. However, this is difficult to achieve on-chain, particularly when a block is mined roughly every 10 minutes

Now, a web-based tool is promising to make Bitcoin a reliable, seamless and affordable payment option. On June 13, 2019, software developer and co-founder at Grant.io, Willie O’Beirne gave an introduction of Joule Allowances.

Joule is a WebLN-enabled browser extension that utilizes the user’s own lightning node to enable seamless micropayments in the background.

To avoid confusing Joule’s users and to make its operation more practical, O’Beirne notes that for now Joule Allowance payments will be restricted to payments made via WebLN only.

WebLN is a library that comprises of specifications for lightning apps and client providers to facilitate secure communications between apps and users’ lightning nodes.

To transact payments with Joule, the user needs an app that accepts or makes Lightning payments, as well as a compatible web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Soon, Brave will also become compatible.

When configuring the allowance, the user will have the options of setting the maximum amount of satoshis that the application use, the maximum amount per payment, and the frequency with which the payments can be made.

Joule Allowances is still under development. O’Beirne explains,

Joule’s interface is just the start of automatic payments while browsing the web with Lightning. There’s currently ongoing discussion of how to programmatically request, configure, and inspect allowances via WebLN, a discussion of using the HTTP 402 response code for payments (that could be done automatically), and new features that would make programmable auto-payments more feasible (e.g., customizable LND macaroons.)

Bitcoin Micropayment Capabilities Improving

Regardless of whether a fee is high or low, transactions have to wait to be confirmed with the next block, which usually takes around 5-15 minutes.

According to Bitcoinfees.earn.com, as of this writing, the fastest and cheapest transaction fee is 72 satoshis/byte. And for the median transaction size of 225 bytes, the charge is 16,200 satoshis. (One bitcoin equals 100 million satoshis.)

However, technical innovations such as Lighting Network and SegWit are easing network congestion, particularly in terms of scalability and reduced transaction fees. Now, the advent of automated payments such as Joule Allowances gets Bitcoin one step closer to become a viable micropayment option as well.

What impact do you think Joule Allowances will have on Bitcoin micropayments? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Twitter/@wbobeirne, Shutterstock

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Blockstream Welcomes New Members to Their Team, Hires On Christian Decker

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Blockstream Welcomes New Members to Their Team, Hires On Christian Decker

Prominent Bitcoin enthusiast and proposer of ‘duplex micropayment channels,’ Christian Decker, announced on Twitter today that he will be joining the Blockstream team to work on L2 protocols.

Decker Joins Blockstream to Work on Lightning Network

According to Blockstream’s official blog, Decker was hired on to bring his expertise and talent to the company’s current research on lightning networks. While pursuing this line of work he will be joined by Blockstream developer, Rusty Russell, who has made theoretical contributions to the advancement of lightning networks in the past.

Decker is an early adopter of Bitcoin, as he began engaging in the cryptocurrency while it was still in its infancy in 2009. He has also created a number of protocols including PeerConsensus and Duplex Micropayment Channel. Furthermore, Decker brings with him the unique distinction of having authored the world’s first PhD dissertation about Bitcoin at ETH  Zurich while working with the Distributed Computing Group.

Along with Decker, Blockstream also took the chance to formally welcome other new employees that they have brought on since early this year. A noteworthy hiring has been that of Kat Walsh — joined in February as legal counsel — having served on the board of the Wikimedia Foundation for seven years, including a term as its chair. Additionally, Blockstream also hired on Eric Martindale as “Developer Evangelist.” Eric has a long history with Bitcoin, having worked a similar role for Bitpay.

Ever since the acquisition of the European-based Bitcoin wallet software provider, GreenAddress, it seems Blockstream has been trying to expand its operations. The new batch of hirings, especially that of Christian Decker, only works to further this belief as the company itself looks to continue its efforts in Bitcoin development with projects like the lightning network.

What do you think of Blockstream’s hiring on Christian Decker? Let us know in the comments below!


 

Images courtesy of Blockstream, Christian Decker

 

The post Blockstream Welcomes New Members to Their Team, Hires On Christian Decker appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Blockstream Welcomes New Members to Their Team, Hires On Christian Decker

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