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Bitcoin Coders Send International Lightning Payment Over Ham Radio

In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind transaction, two developers working in separate countries have successfully sent a bitcoin lightning payment over radio waves.

Organized over Twitter this past weekend, the transaction was sent by Rodolfo Novak, co-founder of bitcoin hardware startup CoinKite, to developer and Bloomberg columnist Elaine Ou. The completed payment effectively moved real bitcoin from Toronto, Canada, to San Francisco, California.

While radio technology is most commonly used for broadcasting music or talk radio, it’s actually capable of much more than that. As the two developers showcased, radio can also be used to boost the resilience of the bitcoin network.

“Bitcoin is making ham radio cool again!” Ou tweeted after sending the transaction to Novak, referencing “ham radio,” the use of radio by hobbyists who fiddle with radio technology.


Image via Rodolfo Novak on Twitter.

But sending bitcoin over radio isn’t just fun. Some researchers argue it actually has a necessary use case.

In fact, the idea itself is the brainchild of Nick Szabo, inventor of the smart contract. Ou and Szabo presented the idea in 2017 at the Scaling Bitcoin conference in San Francisco, arguing at the time that it could help bitcoin build resistance to partition attacks researchers argue could potentially be used to attack the network.

The idea is that, while the internet can potentially be censored, it’s not the only form of technology that can be used to send data from one part of the world to another, “in case China decides to censor bitcoin via the Great Firewall, or places like North Korea where there is no internet at all,” as Ou put it in an email to CoinDesk.

Technology infrastructure startup Blockstream licensed satellites that beam bitcoin to users around the world for similar reasons. Still, there are limits to the concept.

“It was a fun demo, but obviously unrealistic because we coordinated everything online before sending the radio signals,” Ou acknowledged.

She continued:

“The equipment is currently the hard part: You need a radio that supports these frequencies. The cheapest way is with a software-defined radio, which is about $200 for something that can transmit low-power signals, or thousands for a high-power transmitter.”

Old radio image via Shutterstock

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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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‘Very Sad’: Lightning Torch Creator Laments Exclusion of Iranian Bitcoin User

The Lightning Network (LN) faced unusual censorship allegations this weekend after it emerged a participant in the Lightning Torch event refused to include a member from Iran.


Sending Transaction To Iran ‘Very Difficult’

In a debacle which continues to unfold on social media, Coinex executive Ziya Sadr confirmed Peach Inc. senior software engineer Vijay Boyapati declined his request to be involved.

Lightning Torch is a transaction relay in which users join or use LN to receive and contribute to a single Bitcoin (BTC) payment.

Similar to the Olympic Flame, the Torch has gained considerable publicity since it began in January, involving the likes of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Blockstream CEO Adam Back.

iran

As a US resident, however, Boyapati expressed concern that ‘sending’ the Torch – which in reality involves sending a payment – to Sadr would draw the attention of authorities. Iran is currently subject to a host of new US economic sanctions.

“I really really REALLY wanted to send it to (Sadr) but US law makes it very risky for me as a citizen,” he claimed.

Very sad that two peaceful people cannot transact with each other across the world because of the state.

Bitcoin Doesn’t Care?

Sadr responded by avoiding calls to label Boyapati a “moron” for his decision, only confirming the legitimacy of the events.

The Twitter user known as hodlonaut, who started Lightning Torch, described Sadr’s predicament as “very sad.”

The Torch currently resides with Adam Back as of press time Monday. He joined the list of holders behind Charlie Shrem and major US broker Fidelity, which accepted it last week.

Lightning itself continues to grow, with momentum building to take the network’s overall capacity to an all-time high of almost 725 BTC ($2.74 million). The size of the Lightning Torch transaction, by contrast, is 3.6 million satoshis ($137.13).

What do you think about Vijay Boyapati’s decision? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Torch Secured: Fidelity Investment’s Crypto Division Joins Bitcoin Lightning Trust Chain

It isn’t a secret that the Lightning Network, a second-layer solution aimed at easing the qualms Bitcoin faces with scalability, has seen monumental levels of adoption as of late. The ecosystem has seen its maximum capacity swell over the 700 BTC milestone, cementing its viability as a system that provides cost-efficient, rapid, secure, and more private transactions.

But this growth hasn’t come unwarranted. Arguably, Lightning’s sudden surge in adoption has much to do with grassroots efforts, like Lightning Pizza and the ever-popular Trust Chain community initiative, launched by Hodlnaut just weeks ago.

Related Reading: Buy Pizza With Bitcoin! Crypto Twitter Enamored With Lightning Network App

Fidelity Takes Up The Bitcoin Torch

It appears that lightning has struck once again. This time, Fidelity Investments’ crypto-centric arm, Digital Asset Services, publicly accepted a Lightning Network transaction. On Friday, the cryptocurrency branch of the Wall Street giant, which has approximately $2 trillion in assets under management, joined in on the multi-week Trust Chain fun, accepting a transaction for 3.64 million satoshis.

Fidelity, who has shown a liking to cryptocurrencies and related technologies, is expected to launch its Bitcoin custody offering by March.

For those who missed the memo, Hodlnaut recently took to his Twitter page to start an interesting community-run initiative. Through the medium of a tweet, Hodl divulged that he wanted Bitcoin users to start a chain through Lightning, whereas participants would send marginally more BTC with each so-called “hop.”

Just hours after Fidelity Digital Assets accepted the torch, it passed it onto the students at Harvard University blockchain club. This is quite fitting, especially considering the hearsay that Harvard’s colossal endowment has allocations in crypto- and blockchain-centric funds.

Harvard’s blockchain club and the aforementioned Wall Street institution join a number of other bigwigs in the cryptosphere that have participated in the Trust Chain, which includes Anthony Pompliano, Klaus Lovgreen, John Carvalho, Marty Bent, leading Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos and Elizabeth Stark of Lightning Labs.

Twitter CEO Enamored With Lightning Tech

Fidelity’s foray into the storm comes after Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter and Square, effectively embarked on a crusade for this scaling solution.

For the seemingly umpteenth time in weeks, Dorsey has surprised the cryptocurrency space. This time, the Bitcoin fanatic tweeted out the announcement of Tippin, a “game-changer application” that allows social media users on Twitter to get BTC tips for their quips. Alongside the posted link was a simple, yet strong message: “This is excellent.” According to the link that Dorsey broadcasted to his following of millions, Tippin is a Chrome and Firefox browser extension that allows for simple and effective Twitter tipping, giving content creators and personalities the ability to monetize their content further.

Just weeks earlier, he too accepted the torch, hoisting it in the Twitter air after he took to Joe Rogan’s podcast to claim that the native currency of the Internet is likely going to be Bitcoin.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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Cluck the Banks: Bitcoin Lightning Network Powers Remote Chicken Feeder

A new and decidedly niche consumer product for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network has launched, allowing anyone to use the payment protocol… to feed chickens.


A Different Breed Of Blockchain Supply Chain

Currently circulating on social media, Pollofeed.com facilitates automated feeding of the birds, powered by Bitcoin Lightning Network payments.

“Pollo Feed is a automated chicken feeder powered by bitcoin lighting payments,” the service’s description reads.

Users use the website to generate a payment invoice and send funds. After, Pollo Feed automatically dispenses a small amount of feed to a chicken in an enclosure in a hitherto unknown location.

The chicken is visible via a stream from within the enclosure, and developers promise that each successful payment will result in video evidence of receipt.

There is as yet no data concerning how many times the chickens have profited from Bitcoiners’ generosity, or exactly how automated the setup is.

Doing More With Lightning

Despite its relatively small appeal as a tool, the reaction to Pollo Feed further demonstrates the rapidly increasing mainstream popularity of Lightning, which just months ago remained all but unknown beyond technical circles and enthusiasts.

As Bitcoinist reported, multiple new services designed to make using the network easy and attractive for the lay consumer have launched this year alone.

In February, these included Lightning Pizza, delivering Domino’s to any US resident and soon elsewhere, and Tippin.me expanding Bitcoin micropayments to Twitter users.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, further stated that it was a case of “not ‘if’ but ‘when’” regarding Bitcoin Lightning implementation in his own payment network Square.

Lightning continues growing hit new records on a daily basis, with currently capacity topping 715 BTC ($2.8 million) according to monitoring resource 1ML.com.

What do you think about Pollo Feed? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, pollofeed.com