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BitPay – a popular cryptocurrency payments provider – has now integrated Bitcoin’s lightning network into its platform. This will allow Bitcoin payments to settle much faster, and cost far less, than ordinary transactions.
Lightning Network Effective Immediately
The lightning network is a Bitcoin ‘layer 2’ scaling solution that allows individual Bitcoin holders to form private payment channels between each other. These payment channels enable users to transact multiple times off-chain, allowing for transaction throughput orders of magnitude higher than Bitcoin’s base layer.
Now, BitPay merchants can receive payments from wallets that support the lightning network, such as Strike and CashApp. The latter introduced layer 2 Bitcoin payments after Block created its lightning network dev kit, which is shared publicly for other wallet services to adopt as well.
Since payments don’t compete for on-chain block space, transaction fees are virtually zero when using this option.
“BitPay’s integration with the Lightning Network offers customers more choice and merchants more ways to be paid leveraging blockchain technology,” said Tony Gallippi, BitPay’s Co-founder.
BitPay claims that its combination of on-chain and off-chain options now gives customers a better overall payment experience, which is “fast, low-cost, and scalable”.
One of BitPay’s first partners for the integration is PacSun – a retail clothing brand with over 400 stores across the US. Michael Relich – Co-CEO of PacSun – says the integration gives Bitcoin holders an instant and cheap option for shopping with them online.
BitPay merchants will not need to make any changes to start accepting lightning payments from customers. Rather, customers will be able to make lightning payments on their own from lightning-supported wallets.
BitPay’s native wallet, however, is yet to enable the lightning network.
Lightning Network Adoption
The lightning network is often hailed as the technology that will allow Bitcoin to scale as a global means of exchange. Senator Cynthia Lummis suggested as much in a recent interview, saying that it would transform Bitcoin from a commodity to a currency “really fast”.
For example, a top Australian baseball team has already integrated the lightning network into its daily operations. The company pays athletes and employees in Bitcoin and accepts the cryptocurrency as payment for merchandise.
Lightning is also what powers the Chivo wallet – El Salvador’s state-sponsored Bitcoin wallet that launched alongside the Bitcoin law in September. The technology is especially popular in the region as a tool for remittance transfers from the United States.