Čvc 12

Ever Imagined How The Bitcoin Blockchain Looks in 3D?

The Symphony of Blockchains team at IOHK has released an update to the project — Symphony 2.0 which shows a 3D representation of the Bitcoin blockchain.


View the Bitcoin Blockchain in 3D

The team announced the news in a blog post on the Cardano web forum of Monday (July 8, 2019). According to the post, Symphony 2.0 is an attempt to represent the Bitcoin blockchain in a manner that is engaging, stimulating, and entertaining while transforming abstract concepts into tangible sensory information.

For the team, apart from creating a visual spectacle, they felt it necessary to utilize sounds like a signature for transaction blocks. Thus, each block in the network has a unique sound.

Bitcoin 3D

According to the post, the team achieved this unique sound signature through a process called “additive synthesis.” Each transaction has a distinctive sound thus making every block composed of these transactions having its own special “auditory fingerprint.”

Symphony 2.0 feels much like models of the neurons in the brain or indeed the many galaxies in the universe. The design philosophy sees the mempool as a sort of primordial soup visualized in a gravitational swell.

The visual interface also sees validated transactions as concentric rings. Each added transaction causes the rings to extend outward like an expanding model of the physical universe.

Certain aspects of the Bitcoin blockchain visualization incorporate practical elements like trees representing Merkle trees. Zooming into each block sees validated transactions displayed as 3D hexagons.

The followings description from the Symphony 2.0 live environment provide a high-level summary of the project:

Transactions are shown as crystals; height is value, brightness is spent output ratio. Each crystal creates sound based on value, spent outputs, and fee. Sounds are cycled through in the order the transactions were made.

Other Crypto Blockchains in the Works

Symphony 2.0 is available on web browsers for both mobile and laptop devices. For low-end devices, the developers also advise running the visual simulation on medium quality.

The development also plans to create visual blockchain simulations for other networks like Ethereum and Cardano.

Commenting on the importance of the project as a tool for greater blockchain education, Cardano forum user and developer of Symphony 2.0, “IOHK_Kevin” declared:

Describing blockchains and how they work is hard. We’ve already collected feedback from users who say they are using Symphony to teach others about blockchains. They’re now able to describe complex terms that they once could not by using graphs, charts or traditional block explorers.

Bitcoin Genesis Block

There are several real-life examples showing the gaps in knowledge about bitcoin and blockchain as a whole. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, the majority of college students interviewed during a YouTube survey two months ago chose $1 over 1 BTC.

Would you like to see a visual representation of the Bitcoin network? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Cardano Web Forum.

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Čvn 19

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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Čvn 08

Top 4 Privacy Features That Will Boost Bitcoin Fungibility

Bitcoin privacy is expected to improve with a few key proposals that are currently being worked on by Core developers. Let’s take a look at the most interesting ones. 


Privacy Means Better Bitcoin Fungibility

For the vast majority of Bitcoiners, major forks aside, Bitcoin seems fairly solid and unchanging. But it is actually in a constant cycle of evolution, through an ongoing series of proposals for improvement.

One key aspect of the Bitcoin network, which is down for some improvement is privacy. Sure, bitcoin transactions are pseudonymous, but as we see time and time again, that doesn’t make them anonymous. Privacy is also an important factor in fungibility – a key feature of good money.

Fungible money means any individual unit of bitcoin are essentially interchangeable, and each of its parts is indistinguishable from another part. So let’s looks at some of the current proposals:

Taproot and Schnorr

Whilst Taproot and Schnorr may sound like the name of a hipster-run organic craft beer brewery, they are actually two new Bitcoin privacy-enhancing proposals. They actually come packaged with a third little friend, MAST.

Bitcoin taproot

They all relate to increasing the privacy level of signatures. In particular, they work to hide information about multi-sig use and conditions from the public eye.

Obviously, it all gets very technical, but the benefits of these upgrades to privacy would be great.

Dandelion

Continuing the bizarre-proposal-names convention comes Dandelion. This privacy-enhancing upgrade was proposed a year ago.

It addresses the very first step in transferring bitcoin. Broadcasting a transaction out onto the network. This is actually a point of risk. An observant node can often pinpoint the originating IP address of the transaction, and hence the likely owner.

[Dandelion] boasts the most optimal non-encryption, privacy guarantees for broadcasting a transaction. Even in the presence of a widely connected supernode, that is closely monitoring the Peer-to-peer network.

Bulletproofs

Bulletproofs (now that name kinda makes sense), are another privacy-based proposal from last year.

Blockchain impact gun control

The proposal takes the form of a zero-knowledge proof, to maintain the anonymity of a transaction amount. It builds on the ‘Confidential Transactions’ proposal, but more on that later. It differs through not requiring a trusted setup.

A zero-knowledge proof is a technique by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that she knows a value x, without conveying any information apart from the fact that she knows the value x.

Bitcoin: Confidential Transactions

Finally, a name that does what it says on the tin. Confidential Transactions was originally the product of Adam Back in 2013. It was the first attempt at a proposal to hide transaction amounts from any parties other than the sender and receiver.

Unfortunately, it did require a trusted setup. Hence Bulletproofs.

As we can see, improvements can take a long time to be implemented, but that can be a good thing. After all, not all proposals will be universally accepted. But it’s good to know that there are people working to make Bitcoin even better.

Which Bitcoin improvement proposals are you most excited about? Share your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Kvě 18

These 13 Bitcoin Lightning Network Upgrades Will Solve Its ‘Biggest’ Hurdles

The Bitcoin Lightning Network will overcome some of its “biggest hurdles to use” in the near future as new features roll out from developers.


From Experiment To Bitcoin Killer App

That was according to Guy Swann, the presenter of the Cryptoconomy podcast, who this week dedicated two episodes to introducing Lightning and analyzing its upcoming changes.

As Bitcoinist has frequently reported over the past year, Lightning represents the ‘next level’ of payments using Bitcoin, and is widely considered to be the way in which the largest cryptocurrency will scale up to meet the needs of billions of future users.

Readers can find more information on the protocol, which debuted on the Bitcoin mainnet at the start of 2018, here.

Looking forward, Swann presented a list of no fewer than thirteen upcoming improvements to Lightning which he says will boost its mainstream appeal.

The basis for the list came from a blog post by Bitcoin business Bitrefill, which offers a range of products and services payable using Lightning.

Top on the list for Swann was Atomic Multipath Payments (AMPs) – or breaking a single payment down into several smaller ones, and sending them over multiple Lightning channels.

“Payments become much more reliable, no longer limited to 1 channel capacity,” he summarized.

[AMP] Removes the biggest (in my opinion) hurdles to payment issues, single channel capacity & liquidity.

Swann is by no means alone in being concerned about those aspects of using the network. As Bitcoinist reported last year, despite its rapid growth, the vast majority of Lightning payments worth more than several US cents failed.

Not Just Lightning Atomic Swaps

Due mostly to its age, Lightning remains a highly-technical tool which lacks a user-friendly interface. Developers are still working on making its base layer suitably robust, themselves stressing the fledgling ecosystem is still an experiment.

Activity is gathering pace, however, and soon for example, Lightning will offer not just major efficiency gains for Bitcoin users, but those of other coins at the same time – via Atomic Swaps.

“Channels don’t have to only send (Bitcoin). Any blockchain… with (Lightning) can connect payments across blockchains. Useful for decentralized swapping of coins, & sending bitcoins to pay invoices in multiple cryptocurrencies,” Swann explained.

Other improvements focus on more specific weak areas in the current Lightning setup. The full list is as follows:

  • Atomic Multipath Payments (AMPs)
  • Atomic Swaps
  • Channel Factories
  • Dual-Funded Channels
  • Eltoo
  • Neutrino
  • Rendezvous Routing
  • Sphinx
  • Splicing
  • Submarine Swaps
  • Trampoline Payments
  • Turbo Channels
  • Watchtowers

As Bitcoinist reported, despite its technical level, Lightning gained significant publicity in 2019 thanks mainly to a public outreach project by Bitcoin user Hodlonaut.

A form of transaction relay, the project, Lightning Torch, raised money for the plight of Venezuela’s citizens using Bitcoin, ultimately seeing participation from well-known figures both within and outside the cryptocurrency industry.

What do you think about the Lightning Network? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Dub 10

Full Blocks ‘Only Way’ For Bitcoin to Stay Trustless, Say Seoul Meetup Founder

Bitcoin blocks will ultimately fill up and fees will increase accordingly, another community figure has warned as a spike in volume continues.


Somsen: Make ‘Smarter Use’ Of Block Space

In a series of tweets April 10, Ruben Somsen, podcast host and long-time convenor of the Seoul Bitcoin Meetup, argued that despite fees increasing, they are part of Bitcoin’s overall transformation into a global payment system.

The impact, he argued, does not have to be a negative one.

“Blocks WILL be full sooner or later. We’re not making smart use of block space, so we’re likely to experience a bumpy fee ride until people adjust their behavior,” he wrote.

…It costs miners virtually nothing to add a transaction. Block space is given to the highest bidder – if nobody bids, it’s practically free. If you think mass replicated immutable blockchain data is at least worth something, then it logically follows that blocks WILL be full.

Bitcoin Transaction Fees Surpass $1 For First Time Ever

The topic of Bitcoin transaction fees has returned to the spotlight over the past week after Bitcoin price shot up to $5300 in a matter of days.

A surge in network activity followed, with fees rising as blocks suddenly became fuller. As Bitcoinist reported, the change led to criticism of certain players, such as wallets which are not helping decrease network load. Somsen agreed.

“Wallets need to get smarter,” he continued.

Fee estimates aim for the next block by default. The result? A bidding war. Better to use Replace-By-Fee (RBF) + under-bidding and automated fee bumps to get a cheaper confirmation within a user-defined time limit. This smooths out the fees.

Off-Chain No Magic Bullet?

He added upcoming technological improvements, in the form of Schnorr signatures, Taproot, MAST, MuSig and SigAgg, would also help keep fees under control, but that the wholesale rollout of these tools was still a long way off.

On the topic of off-chain scaling, something many believe will ultimately avoid the need to pay significant network fees, Somsen also gave cautionary advice.

“…All off-chain solutions, whether it’s third party services or Lightning, do NOT make you immune to on-chain fees,” he countered. “When there are issues, people have to go back on-chain. If you can’t afford to pay the fee, you are stuck and won’t be able to exit from misbehavior.”

He concludes:

There’s simply no other way for Bitcoin to stay trustless. If you personally don’t need trustlessness, you can always transact cheaply off-chain via third parties. But if we sacrifice trustlessness on the base layer, it’ll be gone forever.

Lightning itself remains a technology in its infancy, despite mounting publicity from well-known figures from both within and beyond cryptocurrency.

Considered an experiment on a technical level, Lightning currently contains capacity for just under 1100 BTC ($5.79 million) in transactions, a figure which has nonetheless shot up 40 percent over the past month alone.

What do you think about Ruben Somsen’s prognosis? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of

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Dub 08

Bitcoin Goes Mainstream As Miss Universe Receives Lightning Torch

Bitcoin adoption took a step in a new direction this weekend after a former Miss Universe contestant joined the Lightning Torch transaction relay.


Rosa-Maria Ryyti HODLs Lightning Torch

In what appears to be an unexpected choice, Jeremias Kangas, founder of P2P trading platform Localbitcoins, opted to pass the Torch outside the cryptocurrency community – to Miss Universe Finland 2015, Rosa-Maria Ryyti.

Lightning Torch began in January this year as a stress test for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, a solution which will allow Bitcoin to scale up to meet the needs of mass adoption.

While Lightning itself has only existed on the Bitcoin mainnet for around 15 months, the Torch has demonstrated the network’s resilience, with various high-profile figures becoming involved.

The relay works by nodes on the network accepting, adding the Torch transaction and adding a nominal amount of bitcoin, currently 10,000 satoshis, before passing it forward.

So far, the Torch has had around 275 owners, with Ryyti opting to hand it to Colombian Bitcoin guru BTC Andres. In total, there will only be enough ownership spots for the sum of the transaction to reach 5 million satoshis.

“I was honored to receive the torch from pioneer Jeremias Kangas and now there are only 8 places left,” she told her 35,000 Instagram followers.

The funds raised will be donated to Bitcoin Venezuela.

Ryyti also set up an account on Tippin.me, the Lightning-enabled tips service used in Lightning Torch.

Bigger And Bigger

Ryyti’s advocacy of Bitcoin predictably struck a chord with the cryptocurrency community. On social media, the model gained considerable acclaim, despite a conspicuous lack of feedback from non-crypto followers from Instagram.

The event is not the first time the Torch has ventured outside of crypto, with perhaps its other outing also becoming its best-known when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took over in February.

Jack Dorsey Joe Rogan Podcast JRE

As Bitcoinist reported, his custody was more than a token gesture, Dorsey subsequently pledging to integrate Lightning in both Twitter and his payments startup Square. The latter is currently hiring developers for its dedicated venture, dubbed Square Crypto.

BTC Andres meanwhile held the Torch for only a short time before passing it elsewhere among the South American Bitcoin community.

Currently, the invoice lies with DJ Booth, creator of Lightning-enabled Bitcoin crowdfunding platform Tallycoin, where Torch creator Hodlonaut is currently raising funds for the plight of Venezuelans.

According to monitoring resource 1ML.com, Bitcoin mainnet Lightning currently has 7876 nodes, over 39,000 channels and a total capacity of 1080 BTC. The figures represent monthly growth of 9.8 percent, 14.7 percent, and 40 percent, respectively.

Last week, a dedicated exchange appeared in the form of Bolt, which aims to allow Lightning-based trades between Litecoin and Bitcoin using a technology known as cross-chain atomic swaps

What do you think about Miss Universe Finland 2015 participating in the Lightning Torch? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives, Instagram

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Bře 31

Making ATM Bitcoin Payments via Lightning Network Is Becoming a Reality

Developer and researcher Felix Weis successfully executed, as a proof-of-concept, the world’s first ATM Bitcoin transaction on the Lightning Network.


World’s First Lightning-enabled Bitcoin ATM ‘Worked Fine’

On March 31, 2019, Weis publicly demonstrated a transaction via Lightning Network at a bitcoin ATM, during the Lightning Hackday, in Hong Kong, as shown in the video below.

Later, Weis described the transaction as:

Just a proof of concept ‘top up your existing channel.’ Lots of bugs but two different mobile wallets worked fine.

Bitcoin Lightning Network Capacity Rises Over 1,000 BTC

The crypto industry is becoming increasingly enthusiastic about the Lightning Network because it offers to drastically lower BTC’s transaction fees while making it possible to execute near-instant transactions.

Moreover, the demonstration of making ATM Bitcoin payments over the Lightning Network comes when Weiss Crypto Ratings has just upgraded Bitcoin from a “C-” to a “B-” (good) because its technology had dramatically improved.

Weiss highlighted these conclusions in a comprehensive report on the crypto market entitled “Dark Shadows with a Bright Future, ” published in March 2019.

Specifically, the Weiss evaluation considered four factors: adoption rate, technology, risk, and reward. And, it highlighted the effect of the advent of the Lightning Network in the upgrade, as follows,

Bitcoin has been upgraded with the roll-out of its Lightning Network and is the best positioned to become a popular store of value for savers and investors.

The Lightning Network is a decentralized system where participants can implement trustless micropayment channels to perform one or multiple payment transactions off-blockchain.

These channels reside off the Bitcoin blockchain. Transactions occur between these channels. Upon completion, transactions are transmitted, as a single transaction, to the blockchain. Then, the payment channel is closed, and transactions are transcribed onto the blockchain.

Therefore, regardless of the number of transactions performed, the BTC blockchain is accessed twice, at the opening of the channel and the closing of the channel.

The implementation of Lightning Network nodes continues to gain momentum. As of this writing, according to 1ML, a Lightning Network monitoring website, the network now boasts 7,744 nodes and 39,129 channels. And the network capacity reaches over 1,059 BTC.

Will Bitcoin ATMs use Lightning Network to cut costs in the future? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of  via Twitter/@bitcoinorghk, Weiss Crypto Ratings, Shutterstock

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Bře 08

Amazon Shares Drop 2.6 Percent As Centralization Alienates Suppliers

Amazon suppliers received a lesson in centralization on March 7 after the e-commerce giant abruptly began canceling huge numbers of orders in a profits push. 


Amazon: We ‘Saw Opportunity’

As Bloomberg reported, quoting a statement from Amazon, the company wants to increase returns at the heart of its e-commerce operations. This has involved fundamentally altering the supply line, forcing even long-time sellers to sell products directly on its marketplace instead of using Amazon as a middleman.

This, reports say, results in reduced costs, as suppliers themselves foot the bill for issues such as storage and shipping. Amazon also takes a commission from each transaction.

“We regularly review our selling partner relationships and may make changes when we see an opportunity to provide customers with improved selection, value and convenience,” the statement reads.

The knock-on effect for suppliers, perhaps predictably, has already touched a nerve. As Bloomberg notes, given purchase orders agreed months in advance, seismic changes from Amazon can easily trigger chaos.

“If you’re heavily reliant on Amazon, which a lot of these vendors are, you’re in a lot of trouble. If this goes on, it can put people out of business,” the publication quoted Dan Brownsher, CEO of a consultancy counting around 50 Amazon vendors among its clients, as saying.

At press time, Amazon’s share price was down by close to three percent on the day.

amazon

Can Decentralization Tackle Monopolies?

As Amazon has grown to achieve a practically worldwide monopoly, the perils of relying on a giant centralized partner will ring true for those businesses which have adopted an alternative ethos.

Nonetheless, decentralized marketplaces have yet to achieve widespread popularity. Efforts to take on the e-commerce giants have so far seen little progress, with highly-anticipated offerings such as OpenBazaar failing to dent consumer habits.

“You should be able to buy and sell using cryptocurrency… if you get crypto, you should be able to spend it… you and buy whatever you need for your daily activity,” the platform’s founder, Washington Sanchez, told cryptocurrency advocate Tatiana Moroz’s podcast the Tatiana Show in January.

Sanchez is overseeing a diversification of OpenBazaar’s core offering, branching out into related software as part of parent company OB1.io.

What do you think about Amazon’s change of strategy? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Bře 04

Bitcoin Can’t Be Stopped By Politics – Lightning ‘Torch’ Goes From Iran to Israel

The Lightning Network ‘torch’ payment has reached Israel after it was sent by an Iranian in a symbolic gesture of peace between the two nations. The historic occasion proves that Bitcoin is truly an apolitical and borderless money technology.


#LNTrustChain Keeps Growing

As reported previously by Bitcoinist, concerns over censorship didn’t stop the #LNTrutChain, otherwise known as the ‘Lightning Torch,’ from being sent to a user based in Iran.

Ziya Sadr, a Coinex executive, gained support from the community to receive the torch after Peach Inc. senior software engineer Vijay Boyapati claimed political factors prevented him from involving him.

Sadr then passed the Lightning Network (LN) payment to another Iranian and founder of Bushido Labs, Sam Abassi, who took advantage of the opportunity to showcase Bitcoin’s political neutrality and censorship-resistance.

Now, the 229th recipient of the torch becomes the Tel Aviv-based Bitcoin Embassy in Israel, who commented:

We received the #LNTrustChain torch!  The torch went from Iran to @samabbassi, an Iranian living abroad, and then to us in Tel Aviv! We’re very proud to be a part of this historic moment  Reply with your invoices and let’s get this torch on the move again!

Bitcoin is Borderless: Palestine Next?

The so-called ‘Lightning Torch’ involves Bitcoin users passing around a transaction on the Lightning Network, adding funds and sending it forward. The current amount has grown to about 3,730,000 satoshis or about $144 USD.

The initiative, started by Twitter user @Hodlonaut, has gained significant interest since it began its journey in January. It has been relayed by such notable entities as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Fidelity Investments.

Online commentators meanwhile celebrated the occasion praising the apolitical and borderless money technology that is Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin cannot be stopped by sanctions or bureaucrats,” commented Atlantic Financial CEO, Bruce Fenton, on Twitter, adding:

Users drive Bitcoin, not central authorities. The future is here.

User Fontaine also added:

Bitcoin unites us all and that is the best thing about it! Would be great to see @BitcoinemBassy send the torch to a Palestinian

Lightning Network is Growing Rapidly

The milestone comes as Bitcoin’s second-layer Lightning Network has been growing exponentially, particularly in the past few months. Data from monitoring resource 1ML.com shows that overall capacity increased almost 20 percent last month alone, while the number of nodes is nearing 7,000.

The instant and near-zero fee transactions over the Lightning Network also go far beyond simply payments.

Last week, Blockstream had used its Lightning Satellite setup to broadcast the world’s first ‘space meme.’ While other use-cases include everything from online roulettes to a remote chicken feeder. In fact, many new Lighting Applications or ‘LApps’ have started to emerge for such as for online tipping and buying pizza, a payment that can be sent for a fee of less than one cent.

Yesterday, Bitcoinist reported that major US retailer Kroger is now also considering accepting Lightning Network payments after abandoning Visa credit cards due to high merchant fees.

While a long shot, LN has actually been found to be a few seconds slower than the best (centralized) digital payment solutions on the market such as Apple Pay, according to a recent study. What’s more, it is actually “days faster” when it comes to onboarding merchants, according to researcher JP Thor.

Do you want the LN torch to go to Palestine next? Let us know below!!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bře 03

Major US Retailer Ditches Visa – Now Considering Bitcoin’s Lightning Network

US retail giant, Kroger, is no longer accepting Visa credit cards at its chain of Smith’s food and drug stores. So Anthony Pompliano tweeted an offer to hook them up with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network nationwide.


Fees-a Not Accepted Here

It all started on Friday when Kroger announced the move to no longer accept Visa credit cards, citing excessive fees. The Smith’s chain comprises 134 food and drug stores across 7 states, employing 20,000 staff.

Card fees charged by Visa are higher at Smith’s than any other credit card brand, explained Kroger CFO, Mike Schlotman:

Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time.

Visa is actually due to increase fees for the banks processing card payments on behalf of merchants in April.

Pomp And Circumstance

In the circumstances, it seemed only natural for somebody to suggest a crypto alternative, and Pompliano rose to the occasion. “Who knows someone on the leadership team there?” he tweeted.

The Morgan Creek Digital team will fly to meet them and get them hooked up with the Lightning Network nationwide.

A couple of hours later a product manager from Kroger Digital tweeted a response and set up a conversation.

Obviously, the Ripple army dove right onto this, questioning Lightning Network’s readiness, and suggesting XRP as a better alternative. More interestingly, someone suggested selling Smith’s gift-cards on BitRefill, which would certainly make a zero effort stop-gap solution.

The Tip Of The Iceberg

But this is a very big deal. Smith’s is the second Kroger brand to stop accepting Visa credit cards, after Foods Co. supermarkets in California. Successful implementation of a Lightning Network payment solution at the retailer could lead to a wider roll-out across Kroger brands.

kroger

Kroger is the largest supermarket chain by revenue and the third largest employer in the United States, along with the third largest retailer in the world. As of December 2018, it operated 2,765 supermarkets and multi-department stores, either directly or through subsidiaries.

Ripple army excepted, I’m sure there is a high level of confidence in Pompliano and Morgan Creek Digital to make this work.

And Visa… you only have yourself to blame!

Will major retailers like Kroger accept Bitcoin and Lightning Network payments? Share your thoughts! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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