Lightning Network is Here
Introduced by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja back in 2015, the Lightning Network has been a much-anticipated addition to the Bitcoin ecosystem. We’ve got a guide on how it works here, but basically, the feature allows for instantaneous, near feeless transactions of Bitcoin through an off-chain network. If you’re at all familiar with Bitcoin’s transaction times and fees, you may see why the Lightning Network is a needed scalability solution.
Well, the Lightning Network’s mainnet is here, and it’s already been used by a community member to make a purchase. According to a Reddit post by a throwaway account dubbed btc_throwaway1337, the anonymous individual used LN to purchase a VPN router from TorGuard:
“I used Lightning Network’s mainnet (via lnd) to purchase an AR300M VPN Router through TorGuard, and it’s here! This may have been the first ever physical purchase on LN.”
The post, entitled “[Lightning] The future just arrived at my doorstep!”, continues to provide proof of the transaction. The OP, who brands himself as “your average Bitcoin investor,” goes on to provide further details about the purchase:
“I saw TorGuard’s tweet, so I decided to contact them. I enquired as to purchasing more than just a monthly subscription, their staff gave me LN peering information, I opened a channel, received an invoice, and here we are!”
The customer even used this payment channel to “route payments to/from others ~8-10 times” through TorGuard, while also tipping another user in satoshi, a Bitcoin micro-measurement that the Lightning Network wishes to accommodate better than current transaction methods.
TorGuard, a router and internet provider that specializes in VPN and proxy services, announced that it would begin accepting Bitcoin Lightning Network payments on January 8th.
Disclaimer: c-lightning is not production ready. TorGuard will cover loss of funds when sending us LN payments. Testnet is so boring.
— TorGuard (@TorGuard) January 8, 2018
Since the Lightning Network is still in testing, u/btc_throwaway1337 told users to proceed with caution and understand the risks involved with using it, stating, “Mainnet is still caveat emptor! I went down the rabbit hole fully willing to lose my BTC. I got lucky, others may not!”
These developments mark a historic day for Bitcoin’s development and cryptocurrency’s real-world adoption, as it is, potentially, the first ever use of the Lightning Network to purchase a physical item. As such, many users likened the moment to the pizza transaction in May of 2010, whereby a developer used Bitcoin to purchase two pizzas in the first instance of Bitcoin’s use in an offline transaction.
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