Apps built on top of cryptocurrency networks are not a new thing. In fact, Cryptokitties has been running on the Ethereum network since late 2017. Now, one Portuguese developer by the name of João Almeida has taken things one step further.
Almeida created and launched Poketoshi, a platform that lets you play Nintendo’s classic Pokémon game using the Lightning Network.
Bringing A Gaming Classic to The Lightning Network
We are always on the lookout for new ways to spend Bitcoin, and this is one of the most exciting ways to date. Poketoshi is hosted on Twitch, the popular live streaming platform. It is very similar to the series of games “Twitch plays Pokémon” where users input their commands in the chat box.
Poketoshi uses a retro looking controller that is Lightning-enabled. This means you can input a sequence of commands – such as “up, up, up, A – if you want to move up 3 spaces and interact with an object. These commands are then queued until you make a payment through OpenNode, a Lightning-enabled Bitcoin payment processor.
Take My Money Already!
Commands cost the user 10 satoshis each, however the price was revised downwards from 100 satoshis originally.
If you make a set of commands and leave them to stack, it simply multiples the cost. For example, if you stack up 15 commands, it will cost you 150 satoshis. Not a bad price to play a classic game from your youth.
It’s Not All Fun and Games Though
Unfortunately, the Lightning Network doesn’t make the user experience of Pokémon any better. If anything, it makes it feel a bit more clunky while you send the payment. Plus, it’s really easy to miscalculate your movements (especially in the grass) and you can end up wasting satoshis walking into walls.
It’s All About The Technology Behind It
All the annoyances of actually playing the game can be forgiven when you think about Poketoshi’s true purpose. It isn’t meant to be a pay to play game, it’s a fun demonstration of the Lightning Network’s ability to provide fast and cheap micro transactions, which Poketoshi is highly effective at showing. Once you initiate the payment, your character starts moving within seconds, indicating the payment has been received.
If anything, Poketoshi shows the nearly infinite set of uses for the Lightning Network, all you need is a little creativity to implement it.
The Long Standing Rivalry Between Lightning Network and Bitcoin Cash
While the Lightning Network is still in beta 0.4, it still has more nodes than Bitcoin Cash. Many Poketoshi players have been using the game to mock Bitcoin Cash by naming the in-game rival ‘BCASH’.
— masen (@masen_io) 16 June 2018
Currently, there are 2,514 nodes on the Lightning Network, while there are only 2,123 Bitcoin Cash nodes operating.
Many of the Poketoshi players have been very outspoken, stating that Lightning Network is superior to Bitcoin Cash, and vice versa. The arguments and bickering should be taken with a pinch of salt though, as Lightning Network is still in early beta.
While we have loved playing Poketoshi, there are many more exciting ways to play games with your Bitcoin!