We love discovering new ways to spend BTC, but after a hard day shopping for vintage Mustangs and Beyoncé tickets we just want to put our feet up and enjoy a nice cold glass of Coke. Thanks to a Spanish hardware hacker called Ricardo Reis, this is now completely possible. He has created a vending machine that runs BTCPay software to generate a QR code. This can then be scanned by a mobile phone, with BTC then being sent to the vending machine so it can release a coke for your pleasure.
You can get your hands on the coke for a mere 0.00000151 BTC and a few seconds of waiting – compared to the 10-minute wait if you simply used the Bitcoin network. This is an excellent demonstration of how the Lightning Network can make cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin an effective method of payment.
Micropayments Made Possible
In addition to cutting down the transaction time, the Lightning Network cuts the transaction cost down to a virtually negligible amount as well. Currently, if you transact in Bitcoin you will be looking to pay a fee of around $0.25. Now, for micropayments that amount is simply too high, meaning that without a cheaper solution Bitcoin won’t be the top candidate for merchants to use.
The Lightning Network is a layer on top of the Bitcoin network and it takes payments off-chain. By taking the payments off chain, merchants and vending machines alike can bundle an entire day’s worth of transactions into one Bitcoin block, meaning they pay the $0.25 just once. This then means that microtransactions are suddenly very cheap to make and lightning fast to process.
A Great Example of Bitcoin’s Future
While this vending machine isn’t a vending machine you can use when you’re out and about, it is a wonderful example of how with a little bit of work, we can integrate cryptocurrencies into our daily lives. Projects like this – and the response they garner from the internet – highlight the demand for more products that can be bought using cryptos. Hopefully, a vending machine manufacturer will eventually add Lightning Network support to a vending machine product line.
People have made games using the Lightning Network and firms are even planning to integrate the Lightning Network with AI to make driverless cars safer. The Lightning Network is certainly opening a vast number of doors into the crypto world and it’s making transactions cheaper and faster – perfect for the Bitcoin lifestyle!