Pizza and Bitcoin have a relationship going back to May 22, 2010 when Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa Johns pizzas for a total of 10,000 BTC ($38.8 million now, before you ask). When Hanyecz bought his pizzas, he was probably more concerned with getting his fair share of the food than the need for a Bitcoin scaling solution ($2.45 million per slice, by the way). Eight and a half years later however this is very much the consideration for the folks over at Lightning Labs who are working on the Bitcoin Lightning Network, which they see as the best chance Bitcoin has of scaling up to the point where it can be used as a cash replacement.
Pepperoni, Hawaiian and a Side of Lightning
In an homage to Hanyecz and his Bitcoin pizzas, Twitter user vires_in_numeris posted a video of him paying his pizza bill using not just Bitcoin but the Bitcoin Lightning Network. As the video shows, the payment is instant, just as Lightning Network intends. Vires_in_numeris states that the payment was in fact so “shockingly quick that my camera was too slow in capturing the moment the txn was processed on the merchant’s phone”. The fee for the transaction? Zero.
Here’s a video of me paying for pizzas for 1.8m satoshis (AUD$98) via the #LightningNetwork
Lightning Network was founded in 2015 and aims to encourage mainstream adoption and daily use of Bitcoin through conducting transactions off-chain, which as the above transaction shows can be, well, lightning fast. The bill is settled on the main Bitcoin chain at a later date when it is bundled up with any other transactions between the same two parties, reducing multiple transactions down to one. Real life examples like this are a great way to showcase the fact that Lightning Network can be as easy to use as regular cash payments, if not easier.
Blockstream Opens up to Lightning
Lightning Network received a second boost this week when Blockstream, the organization that facilitates use of the Bitcoin network through satellites, added Lightning Network payments to its infrastructure, at the same time expanding its service to the Asia-Pacific region. Blockstream CEO Adam Back is a noted proponent of Lightning Network, saying of the technology when Blockstream launched in 2017:
Lightning adds privacy due to its use of onion routing, and off-chain netting; and lightning better supports micropayments that are lower transaction cost, faster and more scalable. These are advantages for retail and web API use-cases generally, and help make the satellite data API service efficient and connect in with other bitcoin-related infrastructure.
There is no word yet on when Lightning Network will be available, but Android and iOS apps are expected to be at the forefront of the designer’s thoughts as they aim to drive merchant and user adoption.