5 unexpected uses for the Bitcoin Lightning Network

06 Mar, 2019 | Updated: 06 Mar, 2019
by David Borman
5 unexpected uses for the Bitcoin Lightning Network

The lightning network is gaining ever more renown and traction as the days go on, an ultra fast payment network used mostly to purchase pizza or beer, but that's child play compared to some use cases. With that said, Chepicap brings you 5 unexpected uses for the Lightning Network.

By this point, many in the cryptocurrency world are aware of Bitcoin's Lightning Network, a layer 2 solution to scaling which sees payments occur through "channels." Basically, an off-chain payment network in which balances are settled on the blockchain only when a channel is closed.

Read more: 3 Sectors that the Lightning Network could disrupt

This makes for massively faster transactions and has led to a rise in Bitcoin being used as the currency it was meant to be. However, there are some uses that are not as conventional as you may think... 

Tipping over Twitter

This may be the least unexpected example on this list, but it is still very worth noting. Before Lightning Network, the idea of tipping Bitcoin through twitter was at the very least more cumbersome, and perhaps not the ideal way to send cryptocurrency. While there are other cryptos that cater to tipping through social media, the Lightning Network has made the Tippin.me browser extension possible, which allows for simple LN transfers in only a few clicks.

Understandably, this has caused Bitcoin tipping through twitter to increase dramatically, so much so that Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, has gotten involved.

Not only has Dorsey begun to use Tippin.me, but he has also revealed that he has set up his own Lightning Node:

Read more: Tippin on Lightning: users can now tip each-other BTC on Twitter

Now tipping online may not be exclusive to Bitcoin or Lightning, but it is impressive to see how well the social media sphere is taking to it.

Send and receive Bitcoin through Microsoft Excel

Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet software is already one of the most popular pieces of software in the world. It is already built to be used by professionals to send payments online. Now thanks to a new plugin powered by the Lightning Network, users can send and receive Bitcoin with just a few clicks, all through the popular MS application.

With this plugin, users don't need to be running their own node in order to make payments. This also means users who are a bit less technical can still be involved, and the hope is to spread enthusiasm about Bitcoin and Lightning to a wider audience.

Sending Lightning Network payments over Ham radio

Chepicap previously reported on a Bitcoin payment that was sent over Ham radio from Toronto, Canada to Michigan, USA. Now, the same individual has orchestrated a Lightning Network payment from Toronto to San Francisco, USA, all using radio waves!

Technically, it was a Lightning Network invoice that was transmitted, but once intercepted allowed for the opening of a channel and transmission of Bitcoin. While in its current state it is more of a novelty and not feasible for most users, nonetheless this tech could be developed to allow for Bitcoin transmission even without internet access.

Purchasing artwork using "microtransactions"

Another unusual use for Lightning came from an art auction which used the Lightning Network to sell a piece of art for the Bitcoin equivalent of $0.000000037. This is plausibly the least amount of money ever paid for a work of art, seeing as the LN allows for transactions of less than even 1 Satoshi.

The piece is titled Black Swan and was the creation of artist Cryptograffiti. The auction was a means to draw attention to the Lightning Network and how it could change the way art is sold.

Read more: Micro auction uses lightning network to sell art piece for $0.000000037

In conjunction with the rise of digital distribution, this could be the beginning of a new type of market in the art world.

Feeding Chickens

In what may be the oddest use for Lightning Network on our list, it has been discovered that somebody has set up a website where users can use Lightning Network payments to feed chickens, from anywhere in the world.

Is this useful? For the chickens, yes. However, in all seriousness, it does highlight how this system is fast enough for use in various remote vending situations. Similar systems have been created for more common things like dispensing soda, but this example is far more fun.

Read more: Soda vending machine for Bitcoin Payments via the Lightning Network

All of these examples show how Lightning Network has the potential to revolutionize how digital payments work and is taking us one step closer to the original vision of Bitcoin as a payment system that is faster and cheaper than legacy systems. If this trajectory continues, then one-day LN and Bitcoin just may be the way money is moved around the world. Stick with Chepicap for any further developments on this exciting technology!

Read more: Bitcoin: a global currency? This Lightning developer thinks so...People have been paying Bitcoin to send some strange messages into space

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Chepicap is here for you 24/7 to keep you informed on everything crypto. Like what we do? Tip us some Satoshi with the exciting new Lightning Network Tippin.me tool!


Read more: How to tip and receive Bitcoin via the Lightning Network with Tippin.me


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