Bitrefill’s New Service to Streamline Lightning Payments

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Bitrefill now provides a means to alleviate Bitcoin’s costly learning curve for rookie users.

The Thor service enables users to give lightning channels to someone without any setup on the recipient’s side. Lightning provides less expensive, off-chain Bitcoin payments.

John Carvalho of Bitrefill says that Thor allows people to connect to the lightning network by downloading one of the supported wallet apps regardless of whether they own Bitcoin or not. People also need to install the app before a user or a friend can go to Bitrefill to buy a channel opening.

To be able to utilize lightning, someone needs to set up a channel between two parties, then deposit a sufficient number of Bitcoin to keep it open. Users are only able to send as much money as the channel’s limit allows.

Thor basically allows users to outsource the technical work needed for opening a channel. The procedure can be paid in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash, or even Dogecoin. Meanwhile, Bitrefill will maintain active channels for 30 days.

Carvalho states that the idea is to let everyone engage on the lightning network as well as operate a hot wallet.

After over a year of exploring lightning payments, the Stockholm-based startup has enabled users to pay phone and cable bills. It has also allowed people to utilize the network for various transactions, with a total of 3,760 completed orders already under its belt. The company also says that they have already received 105 new orders in the first week of 2019 alone. 1ML.com indicates that Bitrefill is one of the leading organizations trying to increase the global lightning channel capacity. The network now has a capacity of a little over $2 million.

Carvalho also notes that overall lightning usage is gradually increasing. He thinks that Thor will be a “good tool” for Bitcoin supporters to onboard other people and teach them about lightning.

Thor is compatible with other free wallet apps like LND wallet. Users may scan the QR code posted on the Thor page while paying for the service and then copy-paste the script. This can all be done without having to deal with the raw command lines.

Bitcoin Lightning Wallet developer Anton Kumaigorodskiy says that the new service can also help increase lightning usage. He adds that no less than 3,204 users have already installed the Bitcoin Lightning Wallet app on their phones. The Bitcoin Lightning Wallet is directly incorporated with the Thor service.

Kumaigorodskiy also says that anyone can now install a fresh wallet, order an incoming channel, and receive lightning payments instantly.

Lightning usage is expected to see significant growth in 2019.

Less than one year ago, the Bitcoin scaling solution debuted the crypto scene equipped with user-friendly beta software. Yet, a comparison between 1ML.com statistics and Ethernodes.org, are already saying that there are about half as many lightning nodes as there are unique Ethereum nodes, more than 5215.

However, Kumaigorodskiy says that he is “skeptical” in comparing lightning-based payments with that of the conventional fiat method. Still, he believes that professional traders will benefit the most in using this new technology.