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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
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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