Not long ago, the Beta version of Lightning Network went live and Lightning Labs was behind that initiative. Now, to further the same project-that of making Bitcoin micro-payment fast, Blockstream is following up with a raft of wonderful apps that works in tandem with lightning network, Lightning Apps (LApps).
Simply put, Bitcoin Lightning Network is a technical solution that seeks to alleviate the scaling problem while allowing fast settlement of micro-payment via an off-chain solution. In layman terms, Lightning Network is another layer of protocol that works on top of the original Bitcoin Legacy network via channels.
These channels are convenient since they connect market participants. The good thing about it is that users can conduct several transactions within it before confirmation and connection back to the main chain.
Over 7 days, Blockstream has been unveiling several Lightning Applications that promises to revolutionize the way merchants and individuals conduct their businesses.
This was the first LApp to hit the market on March 22. According to Blockstream, FileBazaar is an eCommerce tool suitable for digital file content creators of videos, photos and others. Producers of such content would easily receive micro-payment for their relevant content.
It works under a Pay-Per-View system and this way content viewers will be in a position to pay for exactly what they need, whenever they need them. At its core, it unshackles businesses and gives them more autonomy. In a blog post, Blockstream said about FileBazaar:
“…instead allow creators to conduct business independently online. This puts more control into their hands, realigns their interests with the desires of their patrons, and supports direct lines of communication with consumers.”
Lightning Publisher for WordPress
Unlike the former, Lightning Publisher for WordPress is not a LApp per say but a plugin with similar working principle as FileBazaar that went live on March 23.
This plugin enables WordPress publishers to receive payments for their live content. In reality what happens is that individuals become their own publishers. This way they receive payment anytime readers preview their work and are interested to learn more. According to Blockstream:
“After an author powers up the LApp, readers will be able to preview an article on the blog, then can choose to access the full content by making a Lightning micro-payment, which will be sent to the creator’s Lightning Charge server.”
On March 24, another Lapp, Nanotip was unveiled and here Blockstream plans to do away with creator’s tipping jars. With Nanotip content creators will privately receive their tips through a tip-bot and have more control.
On the other hand, patrons will have private freedom to choose whom they want to tip. Once they settle on any one content creator, they receive a Lightning Invoice.
This is one promising LApp that users could test from March 25. What it does is simple: create this one big, flexible “web of micro-payments”. From there developers can request payments for their specific API services.
What’s exciting about PayPerCall is that it may be the beginning of an internet of services where users have to pay for premium API services. This way, API programmers can automatically request for payment before any specific API action filters through. Besides, programmers can use it as a reverse proxy to serve the same function.
“Want to require a micro-payment when a user sends an SMS? Want to offer image processing services for a micro-fee? PayPerCall allows developers to do so, and with Lightning’s instant payments, it enables instantaneous access to an API’s functionality.”
Lightning Network is all about merchants and Nanopos is perfect for vendors with static items. Merchants with T-shirt stands or coffee shops can easily utilize this app. Besides, it’s easy to use.
Through a config file, vendors can list their items. Thereafter, customers can freely select what they want via computer screen. After they are through with their selection, customers will immediately receive a QR code and pay.
Next in line was Ifpaytt. Lightning Charge and PayPerCall powers this innovative solution. Like PayPerCall, there’s flexibility because now developers can charge for any action that is done on Ifpaytt enabled web pages.
Ifpaytt users can at any time combine triggers-usually invoices-and actions to create an IFTTT (If This Then That) applets that links both events together. Through this users can “access the URL to request a Lightning invoice, pay it, and then make usage of the service.”