Latest Strikes 62 - November 6th-12th 2023

A solarpunk market with a robot buying groceries from a human merchant.
"The Machines Will Buy Their Groceries In Bitcoin". Generated with DALL·E 3.

Happy Satsturday, Lightninger! Welcome to your recap of all the things that happened in Lightning last week. We got some interesting announcements at Adopting Bitcoin, Geyser embracing Nostr, and a tremendous update to one of the most powerful Lightning wallets out there. Let's dive in!


New Referral System In Wallet Of Satoshi

Wallet of Satoshi (WoS) unveiled an interesting referral/reward system where, if you're the first person to send sats to a WoS wallet from your own WoS wallet, you'll be considered as being the one that got this person to install the wallet, and will hence receive a cut of the fees Wallet of Satoshi takes when this user transacts on Lightning. While Wallet of Satoshi is custodial, I think LSP-based self-custodial wallets (such as Phoenix for example) should be able to implement similar mechanisms, which could be a nice way to reward givers of the orange pill, while increasing fee revenue overall.

Geyser On Nostr

Geyser is now open source, and fully nostrized! To put it in a nutshell, every project on the Geyser's Lightning-native crowdfunding platform now has its own dedicated Nostr profile, created automatically when the project is launched. What's particularly interesting with this is that, since Geyser let's the project's owner export the private key of their project's Nostr profile, Geyser in practice ceases to be a "platform" and becomes a specialized Nostr client. That means increased censorship-resistance, portability and resilience!

In the same breath, the Geyser team also open-sourced their code, making it potentially easier for alternative teams to build compatible clients, and thus putting their acts where their mouth is when it comes to openness and portability. Really inspiring!

Adopting Bitcoin Announcements

The Adopting Bitcoin conference took place in El Salvador last week, with a few noteworthy Lightning-related announcements. Here are three that caught my attention:

  • Lightning now represents 85% of the transactions made by Salvadorans on Bitrefill, in terms of number of transactions. This data is better appreciated when putting it in the context developed by Matt Ahlborg in this thread back in April, where he analyses the impact of Bitcoin on-chain fee spikes on the use of alternative forms of payment by Bitrefill users. What Matt found at the time (although excluding El Salvador) was that while Lightning usage by Bitrefill users did increase with on-chain fees, it did less so than established "legacy" coins such as Litecoin, Doge or Dash. Many exchange users tend to use these networks when withdrawing from exchanges to Bitrefill in order to save on fees. A good way for Lightning to gain traction in this regard would hence be increased exchange adoption, which is now an established trend, with Binance joining Lightning this summer and Coinbase considering doing so. However, another big factor explaining this large proportion of Lightning transactions at Bitrefill by Salvadorans is probably the recent addition of eSIM purchases, for which Lightning is perfectly suited as they often are quite low-value transactions.
  • Athena Bitcoin, which already operates over 2000 Bitcoin ATMs in 6 different countries, announced that they're integrating Lightning into their machines, starting in El Salvador. Lightning makes a lot of sense for ATMs thanks to its instant settlement: you don't have to trust the ATM with 0-conf on-chain transactions anymore! The icing on the cake: you get to be relatively independent of on-chain fees once you've got a wallet setup and you're just topping-up existing channels for your daily spending.
  • Nicolas Burtey from Blink shared some exciting news, and notably a massive step towards a Bitcoin circular economy in El Salvador, with the second distributor in El Salvador (Distribuidora Morazán) now accepting Bitcoin. This means that the 40,000 merchants that rely on Distribuidora Morazán as their supplier will now be able to pay directly in Bitcoin, and even with a 5% discount, since using Bitcoin makes Distribuidora Morazán's operations easier and cheaper. This removes one of the major hurdles for merchants to accept Bitcoin, since they often stop accepting it because they need cash to pay their suppliers. Now, with a big supplier accepting Bitcoin, we might be at the beginning of a new exciting phase for the country's Bitcoin economy.

Wallets & Tools

Blixt Update

We got a new Blixt update last week, with lots of nice stuff! A few picks:

  • support for 0-conf channels in Dunder LSP (the LSP integrated in Blixt),
  • support for Simple Taproot Channels (for now only for manually opened channels, but coming soon to channels opened with the LSP as well),
  • and a massive one: with the new Persistent Mode in Android, Blixt can now run in the background, keeping LND in-sync and even listening for incoming payments. It remains to be seen exactly how this impact battery, but that's definitely a very nice thing to have in a mobile wallet, especially combined with "trustless" or "trust-minimized" Lightning Address providers such as Zaplocker (used in Zeus) or Lightning Box (used in Blixt).

Recurring Subscriptions (Cont'd)

We now have more details about the "Patreon-like" recurring subscription mechanism proposed by Pablo Fernandez, which we briefly covered here. Turns out my confusion at the time was due to the fact that Pablo's proposal doesn't concerns itself with how the subscriber automatically pays the required amount every month/week/day. Rather, it focuses on creating an event (kind 7001) in which the subscriber pledges their support and specify the amount they are willing to pay/donate and at which cadence. This pledge can be linked to another event (kind 7002) published earlier by the subscribee (let's say, a writer or a video maker) which details tiers for supporters, giving them access to various rewards, much like Patreon and other platforms do.

Then, the subscriber pays its subscription by zapping the kind 7001 event they published, and re-zapping it every set period of time. As long as they keep paying, they can enjoy their perks (for example, a special badge), but this is fully enforced on the client side. To strictly enforce subscribers-only content distribution, paid-relays are a more effective approach. But that's definitely an interesting Patreon-like system, which could be implemented in Geyser for recurring donations, now that the project leaves on Nostr.

Closing Bit

C'est un énorme banc, des milliers de poissons
Nageant dans un courant puissant, anisotrope
Que ne remonte que, qui tel Pithécanthrope,
N'a pas su s'exprimer et retente sa chance.

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