ATM Bitcoin Payments Via Lightning Network Just Became a Thing
On March 31, during the Lightning Hackday in Hong Kong, Bitcoin enthusiast Felix Weis made history as he publicly demonstrated the world’s first lightning-enabled Bitcoin ATM.
A video of Weis, who is also a BTC researcher, developer, and world traveler, successfully executing this historic Bitcoin ATM transaction on the Lightning Network (LN) can be seen below.
— Bitcoin Association (@bitcoinorghk) March 31, 2019
Following the transaction, Weis commented on it via a Twitter thread where he said:
“Just a proof of concept ‘top up your existing channel.’ Lots of bugs but two different mobile wallets worked fine.”
Bitcoin Lightning Network Growing in Popularity
The Bitcoin lightning network is beginning to gain a lot of traction as the crypto industry becomes increasingly enthusiastic about its potential to lower Bitcoin’s transaction fees and facilitate near-instant transactions.
Even Weiss Crypto Ratings are excited about the potential of the lightning network’s technology, as they recently upgraded their rating for Bitcoin (BTC) from a “C-” to a “B-” because of dramatic improvements in Bitcoin’s technology.
Weiss highlighted Bitcoin’s technology improvements in their comprehensive report titled, “Dark Shadows with a Bright Future,” which was published in March 2019 prior to the Bitcoin lightning network ATM demonstration.
Per the Weiss report, their evaluation for ranking cryptocurrencies consisted of 4 primary factors: adoption rate, technology, risk, and reward. Regarding Bitcoin’s technology, Weiss highlighted that its rating was upgraded due to the continued rollout and adoption of the Bitcoin lightning network.
“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.”
Understanding the Bitcoin Lightning Network
The Bitcoin lightning network is a relatively easy piece of technology to understand, especially with basic knowledge about blockchain tech. Essentially, the Bitcoin LN is a decentralized system where participants can transact Bitcoin off-chain through trustless payment channels residing off the main blockchain.
Through these payment channels, participants can perform one or multiple payment transactions near instantly, and for a fraction of the cost as a regular Bitcoin transaction.
Lightning network channels enable participants to make micropayments in a fast, secure, and feeless manner because transactions are not transmitted to the Bitcoin blockchain until the payment channel is closed. Once closed, the transactions are transcribed to the Bitcoin blockchain as a single transaction.
Therefore, no matter how many transactions are completed in a Bitcoin LN channel, the Bitcoin blockchain is only accessed twice: once when opening and once when closing. Therefore, the lightning network takes the load off the Bitcoin blockchain and enables BTC to be used as a spendable currency like digital cash.