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Report: Twitter to Add Bitcoin Tipping for 300m+ Users

Rumour has it that bitcoin may be coming to Twitter through the lightning network. That means Twitter’s 300 million users will suddenly all have the ability to earn bitcoin from their tweets.

For those unaware of what the lightning network can accomplish, it is next-to-free and instantaneous bitcoin transactions. This new feature means different things to different communities. For Twitter, this is a move to monetize Twitter in a totally novel way. For Jack Dorsey, this is a way to add immense value to the bitcoin network. For the bitcoin community, this is the moment where they may get to put a nail in the coffin for the argument that bitcoin is not suitable for transactions.

Finally, for the lightning network this is the ultimate test to see whether or not it is suitable to handle a global load of transactions.

Twitter coin

Tipping Tweets on Twitter with Lightning

The ability to tip users for popular tweets simply isn’t feasible if all tips were transactions added to the blockchain. The transaction fees on the base chain are too high, and transactions take too long.

The prevailing narrative is that the bitcoin blockchain is meant to be compact (small block size) with high fidelity and security assurances. The tradeoff is that the base bitcoin blockchain will never be suitable for micro transactions. This is a tradeoff that the majority of (current) bitcoin core, and lightning developers agree on.

The lightning network was hence developed to handle a global load of transactions of any size, without needing to broadcast those transactions to the blockchain. This way, every participant in bitcoin can have their cake and eat it too. High security assurances for the base chain, and fast, cheap transactions on the lightning network.

Lightning-Based Micro Transactions

Imagine earning a fraction of a penny for every like you get on a tweet. After a couple thousand likes you’ve made a quick buck! You can then go spend that money on a coffee, so long as that coffee shop accepts bitcoin on lightning.

Microtransactions are hailed to bring a multitude of trickles of income into the pockets of millions of people within the creator economy. Monetization of content is tricky, and only really becomes profitable when the creator has attained a certain level of notoriety. But what microtransactions do is lower that bar, and provide creators with immediate feedback in the form of money.

Bitcoin is a Peer-to-Peer Cash System

For the better part of the last 5 years, Bitcoin has been combating valid critiques against a certain line in its whitepaper. Satoshi themselves labeled bitcoin as a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”. However, transaction fees on the base chain frequently surpass $5.00 and can go as high as $50.00 in times of significant transaction volume.

Additionally, transactions take 10 minutes to settle, creating a requirement of trust at the point of sale. Customers and merchants would need to wait for the transaction to be included in at least one block before considering the transaction to be settled. This is by no means ideal for those wishing to quickly pay for a $3.00 coffee with bitcoin.

A group of engineers set their minds to solving this issue. Virtually no one in the bitcoin community refutes the necessity of bitcoin needing to be able to process a global load of transactions. This is after all a vital piece of how bitcoin will become the global reserve currency and the native money of the internet. This group of engineers published a whitepaper for lightning in 2016, and started development immediately after.

Five years later, and the lightning network may finally be able to fulfill the mission of bitcoin becoming a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Between El Salvador making bitcoin legal tender, and pockets of lightning nodes being built all around the world, we finally get to see bitcoin in action as a medium of exchange.

Testing the Lightning Network After Exponential Growth

The lightning network is supposedly able to handle millions of transactions per second, with each transaction costing a fraction of a penny. The moment of truth has come wherein we finally get to see whether or not that claim is true.

There are three particular events unfolding that will move us closer to seeing whether or not these claims are true. The first is El Salvador; eight million people using bitcoin on the lightning network as a nationwide transaction medium. The second is Twitter adding lightning tipping to 300 million users. The third is simply the exponential growth that the lightning network is undergoing regardless of what is happening with the first two events.

Like the expansion of the internet, the growth is not centralized to one spot. It is taking place in major business hubs, as well as rural areas. All you need to have in order to participate is an internet connection and some bitcoin. The low bar for requirements is no doubt in part responsible for the exponential growth seen on the lightning network in 2021.

The number of nodes connected to the network has more than doubled since the beginning of the year, now topping 13,000. As it stands, there are more than 2,300 bitcoin being circulated on the lightning network. This number is expected to balloon as more nodes, and channels are added to the network. Admittedly the number of bitcoin on lightning pales in comparison to the 200k WBTC on Ethereum.

All Signs Point to Bitcoin as Money

It matters not where the bitcoin is used, only that it is bitcoin that is being used.

There is bitcoin being used on Ethereum (WBTC), as well as Binance Smart Chain (BTCB). Bitcoin doesn’t just scale from its own blockchain and lightning. Secondary blockchains and sidechains are also responsible for a lot of the universality and scalability coming to bitcoin.

I think the ideal scenario is that bitcoin be adopted as widely as possible on lightning. The reason is that bitcoin can be transacted with the most quickly, cheaply, and securely on lightning. It shows the most promise for being able to handle a global load of transactions, which is the entire reason for the cryptocurrency experiment in the first place. Twitter and Jack Dorsey recognize this, and we’re excited to see how Twitter integrates the lightning network.

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About the Author

Keegan Francis

Keegan Francis is a cryptocurrency knowledge expert and consultant. He recognized the opportunity in cryptocurrency early in his career and has been invested in it since 2014. His passion led him to start the Go Full Crypto, a project that documents his journey of totally opting out of traditional financial services. Keegan has been living entirely off of cryptocurrencies since 2019.

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