How I'm using Bitcoin’s Lightning Network in the real (third) world!
Hello my fellow Steemians and Crypto investors,
As you know from reading my previous posts I have lately been playing with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
This time, I not only played with it but used it in the real world, or should I say, in the Third World where it’s most needed.
Topping cellphones in Cuba with Lightning Network and Bitrefill.com
Just like in the last test I wrote about a week ago, I used the Eclair Lightning Network mainnet wallet for Android. If you need details on how to install and use this app please read the step by step description from the previous post.
This time I opened a larger Lightning Network channel, of about $30 USD, to be able to send a more substantial phone recharge to a friend developer in Cuba that has been helping me with the Crypto Millionaire app, and take advantage of the 150% promotion currently going on at CubaCel when you pay more than $24 USD.
CubaCel promotion. Screenshot taken at Bitrefill.com
I then entered the phone number I wanted to top up, an email address, selected Lightning BTC as the payment option and clicked on the button To Payment. This took me to the next screen where a Lightning payment request address was generated.
Don't even think of trying to type the payment request on your phone, it's a very long string of characters and numbers! The good news is you don't have to. Bitrefill generates a convenient QR code you can scan directly from the Eclair app and, presto, a screen with the request details and a green Pay button will come up.
I foresee that in the future, there will be online services that, like DNS and URL shorteners of today, will make Lightning Network payment requests much more friendly to remember and post online.
Ok, so I clicked on the green Pay button and voilà, the transaction went through instantly, so fast I couldn't grab the screen. Right away I received a confirmation email from Bitrefill.com.
I happened to be chatting with the recipient in Cuba at the moment. He right away confirmed the main recharge came through instantly. However, the extra promotion of $30 USD took a little longer to show up on his phone but eventually, like 30 mins later, it went through as well.
Lightning Network transaction details. Screenshot taken from the Eclair Lightning Network wallet for Android
Why is this important?
We have it easy in the first world, we have credit cards, 'somewhat reliable' banking systems, debit cards, and hard currency to spend with them.
However, in places like my native country Cuba, most people live their entire lives without ever having access to a bank account or even an electronic card of any kind. They are very much disconnected from world finances and do they everyday survival commerce with either ever inflating cash or by simple bartering.
This experiment I just did is very important for Cuban software developers, room renters, service providers, even for Steemians such as @cubadetodo and @paquetedecuba that, so far, had no reliable way to convert their crypto earnings to use them in real life.
It opens the doors for many thousands (maybe millions in the future) of Cubans to offer their services online, charge in crypto currencies and later monetize those earnings by turning them into cellphone minutes that, work as currency, not only in Cuba but in many third world countries, especially in Africa.
The current promotion by Cubacel makes it even more attractive because, for about $24 USD, they receive $54 in cellphone minutes. Even by selling those at a discount later, they make a nice profit!
Low fees are beautiful!
We all remember that, not so long ago, fees for Bitcoin transfers went as high as $10 USD, most were over $2 USD.
Well, in places like Cuba they make less than $2 USD a day! Imagine having to pay that amount in fees for a phone recharge... It would be a real problem. However, with Lightning Network, I paid a laughable fee of only 0.000000293 BTC (0.002719089 USD). A very small fraction of a cent!
This is indeed very attractive in the third world, much more so than in the first. For people living in the first world, spending $2 USD for a Bitcoin transaction was never really a problem, despite all the fake tears and screams from the FUDsters of 2017 ;).
Cellphone recharge confirmation page. Screenshot taken at Bitrefill.com
I don't think most people in the third world will open up Lightning Network channels or anything like that. It's way too complicated for them and requires Bitcoin reserves and knowledge they don't have. What will most likely happen is that companies will open channels and let their customers use them for substantially less fees that they would by paying Bitcoin directly or using conventional ways to transfer money.
I love it because not only will he receive about $50 in cellphone minutes, that I know for him represent not going hungry for a few weeks, but also, since I'm using Bitcoin's LN and only an email to register, it would be very complicated, likely impossible or very expensive, for Cuban authorities to track who's sending him those recharges.
BTW, his cellphone is 53 559 2500, in case you want to help him too.
Hope you like and resteem this post! Also, please share your experiences with LN.
Meme generated at imgflip.com/memegenerator
Meme generated at imgflip.com/memegenerator
So, have you used the Lightning Network yet? What particular software did you use, what did you buy? How was the experience?
Do you have other exciting apps and tools you want to share with the community of crypto investors?
Do share your thoughts on this post with the Steemit community in the comments below!
What have you been doing this crypto winter?
Accumulating patiently like a professional hodler.
Panic selling like a hopeless noob.
If you answered 1, go ahead and download Crypto Millionaire from the link below. This app will help you diversify in a smart way, especially right now that' it's such a good time to buy the millionth of supply of top coins on the cheap.
If you answered 2, sell everything and become a pimp. It's the only way you will be able to keep selling bottoms, haha!
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