Blockchain and cryptocurrency advocate Ricardo Reis has unveiled a vending machine that can accept Bitcoin payments through the Lightning Network.
This is potentially a big deal: if transactions can be reduced to milliseconds then Bitcoin could suddenly go mainstream. This vending machine is as home-brewed and basic as it gets, but if one cryptocurrency advocate and maker can turn out something like this, then it can happen on a much bigger scale.
Some experts believe that Litecoin, not Bitcoin, is the future of the Lightning Network. Reis has proved that Bitcoin payments can work, though, as he makes the transaction in as close to real time as we can hope for right now.
He built the whole thing from a Raspberry Pi that plumbed into BTCPay Server, using source code taken from Pusher and hacked to suit. This was a collection of off-the-peg parts in terms of the hardware and software, and it didn’t take a development team to make this happen.
— Ricardo Reis ⚡️ (@ricardoreis007) September 30, 2018
Bitcoin simply doesn’t have the transaction speed to function in the real world as we all once dreamed it would. The Lightning Network changes that. It can boost Bitcoin’s few transactions a second to billions every day.
What is the Lightning Network?
The Lightning Network takes whole deals off the blockchain and parses them out, only reconnecting to the blockchain to confirm that the transaction is complete. Numerous transactions take place, but are simply recorded as one.
Effectively, the Lightning Network lightens the load for the blockchain and takes the busy work off its severely strained back. It also takes the painfully slow transaction times that are part and parcel of the Bitcoin economy and reduces them to near instant confirmations.
Others are working on different solutions to the same problem. Electroneum has an API that can reduce transaction times to almost nothing with a system if instant notifications that effectively confirms the deal can happen in real time. The actual transfer still takes time, but happens in the background.
The Tech is Here, Now For Mass Adoption
The simple fact is that the Lightning Network, at least in some form, works. It hasn’t been exploited yet, not by a long shot, but it is functional. If a single entrepreneur can create a vending machine like this, so can the big guns. That means the tech is already here for widespread cryptocurrency acceptance.
Now we know there’s a way, we have to see if there is the will.
The author is not currently invested in digital assets.