Blog piece shared by Beautyon, first published on medium.com

At Azteco we’ve been experimenting with Lightning for over a year,  refining our thinking, and user experience designs to perfectly express  our ethos. Now we’re ready to offer Lightning to everyone everywhere  with a compelling, irresistible service, restoring the experience of  Bitcoin in its early days, where you could send and receive it for next  to nothing by default.

Why Lightning?

In  the early days of Bitcoin, you could send and receive it for a cost of  pennies. It was on this experience that the entire dream of Bitcoin  being “The Money of the Internet” was born.

With a small number of people using Bitcoin, very few understood that as this new, novel network began to grow, the necessary natural constraints on its capacity would quickly cause the low value transaction proposition to end.

This  is the point at which the layered network idea began to take shape,  where Bitcoin is the base, “Layer One” network layer, and new layers are  superimposed on top of it and the race for the upper layer protocol  began. The winner of this race would be the default “Consumer Layer” of  Bitcoin, with Layer One being the business or Network Operator layer.

Lightning  has won the race to be this layer. It is “Bitcoin like” requiring no  trust, just like Layer One, where anyone anywhere can join it as a peer  without the permission or oversight of any person, consortium or entity,  well intentioned or not.

What is Lightning?

Lightning  is Bitcoin. To analogise, think of Lightning as what you get when you  convert a dollar bill into 100 pennies. When you do this, you have the  ability to pay for a penny candy one at a time with a single penny.

Imagine  going into a Penny Candy store with a $100 bill and trying to use it to  buy a single penny candy. The storekeeper will think you’re crazy.  And he’ll probably be annoyed. If however, you give him a penny for a  penny candy, everything is fine. That’s how Lightning works; it allows  you to break Bitcoin into pennies and spend those pennies with near zero  cost. On the internet. From and to anywhere in the world.

And  just as it is with your piggy bank full of pennies, one day, you may  want to turn all that metal into paper dollars. To do that, you go to  the bank, they count the change, and give you paper money. It’s the same  with Lightning. If you have enough to justify it and the need, you can  convert your Lightning Bitcoin into “On Chain” Bitcoin. But if you never  do that, it is still spendable as Bitcoin, just as pennies are  spendable as money.

What Does Lightning Look like?

It looks just like Bitcoin, because Lightning is Bitcoin.  It’s just like Bitcoin in its early days, but this time, without any  upper limit or technical barrier to serving billions of people out of  the box. You scan QR Codes, send and receive Bitcoin on wallets and it  just works. Only it’s faster and cheaper.

Furthermore, Lightning is entirely trustless,  and everyone on it is a peer, without any overlords or appointed  network operators or guarantors. It is truly peer to peer and open, just  like Bitcoin, and doesn’t require special invitations, worthiness tests  or other central bankish anti-Bitcoin hoops to jump through and antics  to to perform in order to join. Lightning is for everyone at every part  of its process, just like Bitcoin. It’s open on every level in every way  that counts.

Where Can I Get It?

You  can get it in exactly the same way you get Bitcoin, by buying an Azteco  Lightning Voucher. Same voucher. Same convenience. Same Bitcoin…but better.

Once  again, think of it as going to the bank and asking for $100. You can  ask for one $100 bill, 5 x $20, 10 x $10 or 100 X $1 or 1,000 pennies.  Depending on what you want to do with your money (and it is “your money”…isn’t it?), you pick the denomination mix. If you want to  buy a $100 bicycle, you take a single Ben Franklin. If you want to go  back to the candy store, you pick 100 pennies and paper notes totalling  $99. That choice and utility is now possible when buying an Azteco  Lightning Voucher.

Whether you’re purchasing in-game items with Zebedee or buying a coffee, with an Azteco Voucher redeemed as Lightning, you can pay for everything you need to buy with tiny amounts of Bitcoin.

Once  again. You can now redeem your Azteco Voucher over Lightning. That  means you can have your $100 voucher either via Lightning or via “On  Chain” Bitcoin. Depending on what the network conditions are, if you  choose to have your Bitcoin On Chain, you will be charged a Network Fee,  that can be anything from under a dollar to nine dollars or more.

Or…

You  can have your $100 in Bitcoin for a fee of 0. And the recipient doesn’t  have to wait in order to send or spend what they’ve received. They can  send it instantly to any other person who has a Lightning powered wallet.

Diverting  for a moment, you can’t pay five cents for anything with a Credit Card.  You certainly can’t pay anyone anywhere globally with pennies and  without permission. Now you can. That’s…power. Very few people understand how powerful this idea is.

What wallets can I use?

You can redeem an Azteco Voucher by Lightning into Phoenix by Acinq…

Or into Bluewallet

Or into Breez

Or into Zebedee

Or into any of these fine wallets and tools…

BLW
Blixt
Coinos
LNbits
@lntxbot
Shockwallet
ThunderHub
Wallet of Satoshi
Zap
Zeus

That makes a total of 14 Wallet integrations, and combined with Pine and Edge, a grand total of 16 Wallets where you can redeem Azteco Vouchers. And more are to come as services settle on “The Lightning Standard”.

The Impact on Bitcoin

Bitcoin  over Lightning means that anyone with a cheap Android phone can redeem  an Azteco Lightning voucher for $1 without fees. It means that billions of people can use Bitcoin in a private, instant way, all over the  globe, with very small amounts of money. It means that anyone anywhere  can store any amount of Bitcoin on their phones, and transmit any amount  of Bitcoin to anyone, instantly.

The  potential for a businesses to serve those billions of users is now  fully exposed and reachable by Azteco, and we’re opening vendor  locations to serve the unbanked demographic, the Zebedee gaming  demographic and the sophisticated American Coffee Aficionado demographic  equally.

The Perfect Storm

Synopsis. Bitcoin is a perfect fit for the Pay as You Go (PAYG) mobile user population. The excellent Bitrefill service…

The Perfect Storm
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If you’d like to try this astonishing new feature for yourself and you’re on Twitter, DM @_joerodgers and he’ll be happy to sell you a tiny fraction of Bitcoin with an  Azteco Lightning Voucher. Prepare to be astonished. You will ask the  same question we keep getting asked over and over, “Why isn’t everything as easy as this?!”.

A special thank you to @BootstrapBandit for writing the elegant library to make this possible for everyone,  Igor at Bluewallet for his knowledge, Pierre-Marie at Acinq and the  generous people at Lightning Labs who have single handedly ensured that  Bitcoin’s entire promise at every level economic stratum will be  fulfilled elegantly, ethically and beautifully. These really are the  best of the best!

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