Bitcoin Lightning Network Payment Completed By Bitrefill

Blockchain, Innovation, News | January 2, 2018 By:

Bitrefill, the prepaid phone payment provider, has completed the first real mainnet transaction using the bitcoin Lightning Network.

Bitrefill offers prepaid mobile airtime recharge services on global scale. The company’s API allows users of businesses and organizations to access 500 carriers in 127 countries. They settle payments with their customers, be it a consumer or an API-partner, in bitcoin. The company’s long term vision is to become the go-to platform for mobile credits distribution, worldwide.

The Lightning Network is a system of smart contracts built on top of the base bitcoin blockchain that allows for fast, cheap payments directly between two parties. The protocol is a proposed solution to the bitcoin scalability problem. It creates an off-chain system by forming a network of payment channels where funds are not entrusted to a third party. The Lightning Network theoretically promises to scale bitcoin by allowing thousands of transactions per second without compromising its trustless nature.

In August, Bitrefill announced it was implementing the Lightning Network. The company said that once Lightning becomes available for mainstream use on mainnet (with real bitcoins) they will stand ready to support users using Lightning immediately.

On Dec. 28, Software developer Alex Boxworth revealed on Twitter that he paid his own actual phone bill with no fees, which executed instantly. Boxworth noted that the test was fully real, but in a limited testing environment – meaning that the payment was made through a mainnet wallet, but the wallet is not yet widely available.

Bitrefill CEO Sergej Kotliar said the transaction occurred when Bosworth was testing out Bitrefill’s implementation with one of the company’s developers, by invitation. Bosworth needed to refill his phone at the time, so he decided to test it with real money.

“As we all know, blockchains currently don’t scale for consumer payments and currently require tradeoffs between decentralization and efficiency,” said Kotliar. “Lightning is a tool that can enable the best of both worlds – a great customer experience (both fast and cheap), but also trustless custody of funds. So we’re eager to enable it as a payment method and do what we can to support developments on that front. Integration with Lightning has been surprisingly easy. It runs in a way similar to how bitcoin works, and fits neatly with how our and many company wallets work already.”