A crypto payments startup is making it possible to buy pizzas with bitcoins (BTC) through the Lightning Network (LN). Only a handful of merchants accept cryptos as payments owing to the uncertainty and fraudulent activities involved and to overcome this issue, Fold converts the cryptos provided by users into fiat which is then used to buy pizzas. A process which is not direct, but carries extreme importance for crypto adoption overall as more and more people will now acknowledge cryptos as a source of making merchant payments.
The crypto world is highly unregulated and these are the early days in bitcoin’s technological innovation. Bitcoin has largely been used as a store of value and a tradeable asset class. With this service, bitcoin’s utility as a payment option gets highlighted which takes it back on the track of being a decentralized peer-to-peer digital currency. The aim is to show that the lightning network is ready for mainstream usage as people are now using the network for carrying out small purchasing activities without huge cost and time overheads.
The Lightning Network (LN) provides a scalability solution to the original bitcoin blockchain. Scalability is one of the biggest problems linked with bitcoin and only a limited number of transactions take place within a certain period of time over the bitcoin network (3.3 to 7 per second). The lightning network is a “layer-2” solution to the scalability issue of bitcoin and it involves forming direct payment channels with others in the network through which the transactions take place off-chain. Being off-chain, the transactions take place at a very rapid pace and this opens up an entirely new arena of payments through BTCs for the masses.
LN promises millions of transactions per second on top of bitcoin blockchain with its layer-2 solution. Layer-2 is a solution that doesn’t require any tweaks in the original bitcoin blockchain network, instead, it is built on top of it. Changes in Layer-1 or Bitcoin core, would require extreme procedures as all the nodes participating across the world will need to update and all the changes will have to be approved collectively by the agreement of the entire network.
The relationship of bitcoin with pizza goes far back as one of the very first transactions of bitcoin (BTC) involved buying two Papa John’s pizzas back in 2010. As this provided one of the first demos of bitcoin regarding its usage in the real world, buying pizzas with cryptos now carries an emotional resonance with the crypto and bitcoin community. Now, almost 9 years later, the usage of Lightning Network for buying pizza heralds a new dawn of bitcoin payment era. The startup is also looking to expand its shopping choices over the coming months with big names like Target, Uber, Starbucks etc. in its pipeline.
Having these most desired merchants on the list of a crypto payments app is an uphill task but if it happens, the adoption rate of bitcoin and other cryptos will grow exponentially. Fold’s use of lightning network had also exploded crypto Twitter as it celebrated the usage of bitcoin in the real world for pizza purchasing;
Cool stuff I bought on lightning ⚡
— James Prestwich (@_prestwich) February 13, 2019
Services like these will help bitcoin gain more acceptance as the money of the internet. In a recent interview, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey expressed his views about bitcoin and said;
The Internet deserves a native currency; it will have a native currency. I don’t know if it’ll be Bitcoin or not, but I hope it will be.
The startup with seven members is also looking to launch both iOS and Android versions of the Fold app so that crypto users can be facilitated even more. Scams, illegal activities, and frauds have polluted the world of cryptos due to which the connotation attached with bitcoin in the general public and mainstream media, is highly negative. But with innovations and services like these, it is expected that things will change for cryptos over time.