- David Marcus believes that the Lightning Network is Bitcoin’s best opportunity to become a practical currency for everyday use
- Bitcoin has struggled with slow transaction speeds and high fees for small payments, making it impractical for everyday use, prompting the need for solutions like the Lightning Network
- Marcus, now CEO of Lightspark, aims to integrate Lightning Network payments and sees Bitcoin becoming the “universal money for the internet” that is not constrained by geopolitical limitations
Former PayPal President and ex-Libra frontman David Marcus has said that the Lightning Network represents the best chance Bitcoin has got of being a currency. Talking to CNBC’s Squawk Box yesterday, Marcus said that Bitcoin’s main chain is too slow and transaction prices often too high for small, regular payments, which renders it impractical for everyday use, and that the Lightning Network is the only way to achieve this. The former Libra chief just so happens to be CEO of Lightspark, a company that is trying to integrate Lightning Network payments.
Bitcoin is No Good for Everyday Payments
Bitcoin hasn’t been a useful method of everyday regular payments for many years, with the transaction fee often making it unsuitable for small purchases and the transaction time, which can be up to an hour at busy times, also rendering it unsuitable for everyday purchases. Some companies have found a way around this, for example accepting payment when it hits the blockchain rather than when it is confirmed, but this can still take minutes.
The argument over on-chain scaling has raged since Bitcoin’s early days, with the 1MB blocksize cap that Satoshi put in place in 2010 still there and not looking like it will be removed anytime soon. Instead, advocates have turned to the Lightning Network, which handles transactions off-chain, allowing them to be instant, bundling them up and putting them on-chain at a later time.
Lightning Network Seen as the Solution
Lightning Network adoption has ratcheted up since El Salvador used it in its adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021, and Lightspark is an example of a company looking to leverage it in combination with Bitcoin’s decentralization as an everyday payment tool. Marcus told Squawk Box that he wants to help turn Bitcoin into the “universal money for the internet” that isn’t bound by geopolitical restrictions.
“We’re trying to turn #Bitcoin into a global payment network. There’s no universal protocol for money on the internet that enables value to be transported,” says @lightspark CEO @davidmarcus. “Our view is $BTC is not the currency people will use to buy things.” pic.twitter.com/3fEBTzHxJS
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) September 11, 2023
Marcus explained Bitcoin’s simplicity compared to regular bank transfers and said that Lightning Network technology is the best chance yet of making Bitcoin that universal payment option.