My first experience ever with BITCOINS’s LIGHTNING NETWORK – PAINS and GLORY!

in bitcoin •  10 days ago

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Hello my fellow Steemians and Crypto investors,

As promised yesterday on my post Just opened my first Lightning Network channel with Eclair! I will be recounting today my adventures and first ever experiences paying for stuff on the internet with the Lightning Network.

Bear with me, there will be a lot of screenshots, some pain, but ultimately glory!

Downloading Eclair and opening my first channel

First, I downloaded the Eclair Lightning Network mainnet wallet for Android. I had already played a bit on the Testnet version of Eclair but this time I wanted to buy something for real, put some skin in the game and be a man! :)

After downloading the app you will have to go through the somewhat bothersome process of writing down a 24 word seed phrase that will serve as a backup to your wallet in case you lose your phone or want to install the app on a new one.

You'll also have to create a 6 digit pin number to be able to use the app. Write both down on a piece of paper and keep them in a safe location.

In the first screen of the app you will see a newly generated Bitcoin address that you can use to fund your channel(s). So, I went ahead and funded this address with a little bit of BTC to open my first channel.

At this point you will have to wait for the funding transaction to happen on the Bitcoin network and pay the regular fees. There's no escape to this when opening a channel.


Opening Channel.png

On this screen you can paste a known lightning node address, or just select the default node by ACINQ (the company behind the app).

In the future however, I foresee that, to reduce costs and hassle on consumers, major players (big companies) will open channels and let their customers use them, just like exchanges do now with their Bitcoin pooled addresses. Most regular people will never have to go through this step.

This is where Bitcoin Cash shills will scream "centralization!" but hey, wake up already, the world is not perfect, it will never will be. This is still much more decentralized than what we have today and way more accessible to the un-banked of the world.

Also, big blocks would be even worse! Only big companies would be able to afford the huge overhead costs of gigabyte or terabyte blocks and the superfast fiber optic internet speeds that would be needed to transmit them on time, if that's even possible at all (let's discuss on the comments below if you disagree).


LN channel opened.png

My first Lightning Network channel opened!

Let's buy something!

Ok, so far so good, let's buy something now that we have a funded channel. Well, not so fast, at this point in time there aren't many options yet. So I went to https://lnroute.com/ where they list available services you can use right now.

My main objective was to test micro-payments (anything under $1). Also, I didn't want to risk too much money on this newly released network and I advise you shouldn't either.

I have been paying with Bitcoin and crypto currencies for a while now but mostly amounts over $20. Micropayments is the most exciting part for me because it's something credit card companies and banks don't have a real solution to. This will be the really disruptive part of the Lightning Network!

I went to mainnet.yalls.org, a social networking and blogging platform to create my first post paid with a 12 cent LN micropayment!
Following is the post I created:


Yalls.png

I wrote my post for posterity! History was being made!


payment yalls.png

I copied the Y'alls payment request into the app, all was working fine but then...


payment yalls failed.png

The payment failed! Shoot!

The payment failed, no matter how many times I tried it. I did a little bit of research online and it turns out this is an issue that has been reported at the Github repository for the Eclair Wallet. I'm not sure it is a problem with the Eclair Wallet, Y'Alls or LN itself but they are working on it so, let's move on until they fix it.

This goes to show we are still treading new waters, there will be pain in the beginning. As a software developer myself I can tell you I have never seen software that works fine the first time so no surprise here...

Using Bitrefill's LN payment option

I still had a channel opened and the locked funds were intact, nothing was lost. So, I went back to https://lnroute.com/ to see what other services I could use to test LN. Most turned out to be over $10. Some cool t-shirts, Paintings, VPN services etc.

The T-shirts by hodlmonkey.com were really cool! I guess I'll have to add some funds to a new channel to get me one of those later but, for now, my thing was to test small payments.

I decided then the next best option would be Bitrefill.com, a service that allows LN payments for cellphone recharges all over the world for as little as $5. Not only would I be able to test small payments but also I would support a fellow Cuban developer that's been helping me with the Crypto Millionaire app with, an always welcome, phone recharge so it was perfect!


Bitrefill.png

Selecting Bitcoin LN payment for a cellphone recharge at Bitrefill.com


Payment Bitrefill.png

I scanned the QR code provided by Bitrefill.com from the Eclair app and clicked Pay. the transaction was successful this time and super fast, so fast I couldn't grab the green Success screen!


Payment Bitrefill received.png

Confirmation of payment to Bitrefill.com. The extra 33 cents are mostly due to the conversion to CUC (Cuban convertible pesos). The LN was so small (0.000000074 BTC) that most online converters just report it as zero USD ;)

The Final Verdict

There was some expected pain. I wasn't really able to test micropayments, my main objective with this test but I understand, as a developer myself, that most young software is bound to have bugs that will be ironed out with time.

Eventually I did manage to send a small payment, not really a "micro" one as I expected, but it was really cool how fast it worked!

I foresee LN will be likely mostly used in the future for most small and micro payments while the main Bitcoin network will be used for payments over $1000 USD because of the greater security it brings for which high fees are worth it.

Second layer solutions will be the future of crypto currencies, not only for Bitcoin, but also for Litecoin, Ethereum and even Ripple. It's just the natural way of things. The Internet evolved in a similar way, coming up with Network Address Translation (NAT) as a second layer solution to routing issues and IP addresses running out.

In some ways Lightning Network reminds me of the early Internet, it eventually works, but you’d have to go through a lot of technical hoops just to send a simple email.

Things have changed so much! Right? Now small children and their grandmas send emails all the time. With a swipe of their finger they can contact anyone, anywhere in the entire world in seconds. It's still amazing when you think about it! Well, the same thing is happening with payments, it’s only a matter of time now.

I can see the infrastructure being built and how pretty soon we’ll be sending and receiving micropayments over the internet without even realizing it. Mark my words. It’s coming!

Hope you like and resteem this post! Also, please share your experiences with LN.


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Meme generated at imgflip.com/memegenerator


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Meme generated at imgflip.com/memegenerator

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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!

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What have you been doing this crypto winter?

  1. Accumulating patiently like a professional hodler.

  2. 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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This is the best article I've read on lightning network. I need to learn more about it. Do you feel there will be any advantages or disadvantages of using bitcoin vs litecoin on the LN?

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Hi @realestatecoach,
I believe Bitcoin and Litecoin will be interchangeable though atomic swaps. Bitcoin will be used in a similar way to Gold (for large transfers and wealth storage), Litecoin like silver and Lightning Network and other second layer solutions will be used for day to day transactions. The Internet will look very different, most good content on it will be accessible through micropayments, not through ads and selling of your private info like today.

Wish I could up vote this more than once. Or that my vote was worth something.

This is the kind of content the showcases the potential of Steemit. Time and effort went into this and it provides information useful to the crypto community.

Well done!

As for the lightening network itself, I think it's a step in the right direction, regardless of the centralization/decentralization controversies. At some point ideology has to give way to what actually works because in the end we all have to get things done.

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Thanks @bobcastleman, always nice to hear smart comments around here! You got a new follower. regards

Andreas Antonopoulos once said that cryptocurrency will conquer the world faster than mobiles did. And I see this happening as it looks like just yesterday LN was just an idea.

Its-Coming-Are-You-Prepared-1068x653 (1).jpg

Is it possible that the first payment was too small and the receiving nodes rejected it as a result?

I still think Doge is best for micropayments.

This was very helpful. I have been trying to wrap my head around the lightning network and how it will function, and this article was very informative. It is exciting to see how this all play out going forward, you are probably right about layer 2 solutions being the future. As long as these innovations continue to work, I don't see bitcoin moving away from the top spot.

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Thanks @bscrypto! You got a new follower. Thanks for the resteem too!

Very interesting thank you for sharing your experience with screen shots. Good job and good luck

Another great report and exciting news! Do you think mainstream BTC wallets will start integrating it?

I have been paying with Bitcoin and crypto currencies for a while now but mostly amounts over $20. Micropayments is the most exciting part for me because it's something credit card companies and banks don't have a real solution to. This will be the really disruptive part of the Lightning Network!

I totally agree with this statement and I love that there is a solution that is decentralized!

Coins mentioned in post:

CoinPrice (USD)📈 24h📈 7d
BTCBitcoin8271.160$3.52%17.59%
ETHEthereum521.905$4.53%30.49%
LTCLitecoin130.401$3.15%10.85%
XRPRipple0.669$6.08%34.39%

Thanks for the article. Just started following you. Glad there are others here writing long form content for crypto. I'm doing the same. Keep up the work.

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Thanks @quantalysus! I love writing about crypto! Following you back, always looking to learn new things and follow smart people. Regards

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Thanks! If you ever want to collaborate let me know @cryptoeagle. I'm releasing two or three articles this week. Smart Media Tokens for one. Debating on Quarkchain, NKN, and nOS this week. Most of these projects are simply forks of DNA project. Bitcoin is still my favorite coin, the whole space is banking on its success as a store of value... Just my opinion.

I didn't get a chance to use it just yet- I was kinda waiting to see what kind of bugs would be found (, if any yet). Also didn't want to accidentally lose some Bitcoin by doing something wrong. Taking it slow I guess you can say, but I did download the app the first day it was released :-D! I'm happy to say I was there to see Bitcoin history in the making.

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Hi @hotsauceislethal,
You can open a channel with less than $10 and play a bit with it like I did. I'll open more channels later to get some t-shirts or something cool, never risking more than $20. Actually that's what the LN is good for, small payments, the Bitcoin network is already good enough for large payments. It's a very small price to pay to play with history ;) There's still a long way to go but the signs so far are encouraging. I do believe though that most people will never open a channel themselves, they will use channels opened by companies like I say in my article. Just like most people never know what ACH or Swift are with the banking system yet still use them. regards

This is a very insightful post about Lightning Network and we strongly believe that the Lightning Network has the potential to save Bitcoin from its scalability issues. It might interest you to try Blockbasis where users can send and receive cryptocurrency with just an email. Let us know what you think. We are constantly updating our platform based on user feedback, so we welcome any and all thoughts!

Problem with decentralization is censorship but I don't see how Lightening Network could lead to that.
Can I open my own Lightning channel for any transaction or does the receiving party needs to do something ahead? Do you know how much is Lightning Network changing Bitcoin's throughput of 7 transaction per second?
Great work.

Wow!
You explain it quite well brother!
I hope that issue with the micro payments will be resolved soon!
My best wishes are with you.

I found it a cumbersome and complicated process. I thank you for the review you did, but is it safe to use it?

no matter what is the start but ending was glorious best regards more success to you best wishes😇👍😇👍😇👍

Nice content sir..... Thanks for share this ....
Keep doing good work.....

Your channel is very good. Have a good luck

This post is resteemed and upvoted by @bestboom

This post has been upvoted and picked by Daily Picked #31! Thank you for the cool and quality content. Keep going!

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Thanks for sharing cryptocurrency update providing news.i appreciate your post.

Your post is very good!

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Bitcoin Lightning Network is a welcome development. Wallet systems and innovations that facilitates fast transactions as well as low fees will be beneficial to remote areas. It will be embraced not only for those in remute areas, but for those (indeed all) who desire efficient, fast and reliable transactions. Cryptocurrency is gaining grounds in our financial system.

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It's really interesting news sir. great effort sir...👍