I went to Bitcoin Lake in Guatemala
The power of the Lightning Network
last timeBitcoin lakeThe efforts of our community leaders showcased the rapid adoption of Bitcoin payments in Panajachel and surrounding areas. All Bitcoin payments here are so-called Lightning payments, which are performed on the Lightning Network.
During the 2017 bubble period, Bitcoin remittance fees soared,Bitcoin cannot be used as a means of paymentThat's what I was often told. In the middle of 2021, there was a temporary surge again due to the petit bubble and the strengthening of mining crackdowns in China, but with the spread of SegWit and batch processing, the frequency of memory pool tightness has decreased dramatically, and it is on-chain, that is, the base layer.Bitcoin network fees remain low and stabledoing.
On-chain transaction fees (CoinMetrics)
However, even if the fees are low, on-chain payments are not suitable for everyday shopping. This is because payment takes time.
Fees will inevitably rise with the price of Bitcoin eventually. In the future,The base layer is used for payments that require security and finality even if it takes time and money, such as Zengin-net, Bank of Japan-net, Fedwire.It is said to be
Lightning Network, the second layer for everyday payments, has already defaultedis becoming Lightning is like the Visa network, but with instant payments and near-zero fees.
From the point of view of paying by credit card, it may seem so, but in reality, the store bears a settlement fee of about 1 to 5%, and the amount paid by the customer through the POS card is not passed to the store. is in a few weeks.
In Japan, the store pays the settlement fee, but overseas, especially in developing countries, it is often passed on to the customer. In addition, if you use your credit card overseas, you will be charged an overseas transaction fee of 1.5% to 3%.
With the introduction of Lightning payment, stores can enjoy the benefits of reduced fees and a significant shortening of the payment cyclecan. For the first time, businesses without bank accounts that cannot contract with credit card companies will be able to offer online payment methods other than cash. Paying customers can also save fees overseas.
The evolution of Lightning in the last year or two has been remarkable. The amount that can be settled has increased from several thousand yen to hundreds of thousands of yen, and the payment process has become even more time-saving, with the addition of the conventional method of converting invoices into QR codes and reading them with a camera, with the addition of a method of scanning by holding an NFC card. rice field.
The following video is touch payment compatiblePayment speed confrontation between Visa and Lightningis.about 3 seconds behind the leftlightning winsis. Please show it to those who do not know the Lightning Network and still say that Bitcoin is slow and cannot be used for payments.
Experience over 50 lightning payments
During my 10-day trip to El Salvador and Guatemala, I made more than 50 lightning payments. Lightning payments are often used for both public and private purposes, but remote payments are the main method of payment, and the recipient of the payment is Bitcoiner, who is familiar with Lightning.
However, this time, face-to-face payments were the main focus, and the other parties were people who didn't know much about Bitcoin, let alone Lightning.
I would like to share the troubles I experienced for the first time in unusual situations, the convenience of Lightning that I realized again, and the requirements of the ideal Lightning wallet that I saw from there.
Environment of stores that accept bitcoins
Before introducing Bitcoin to local businesses, Bitcoin Lake tested many Lightning wallets to decide which wallet to recommend, and found that Bitcoin Beach Wallet (BBW), the official wallet of Bitcoin Beach in El Salvador, was the most needed. It seems that it has come to the conclusion that it matches . However, there was one problem in introducing BBW to the store as it was.
BBW can only specify and display payment amounts and balances in El Salvador's currency, Bitcoin or US dollars.Therefore, open sourceForked BBW and developed an original POS compatible with Guatemalan currency QuetzalDid.
The store enters the price in quetzal into the POS, generates an invoice, presents the QR code to the customer, reads it with their own wallet, confirms the amount, and taps the execute button.
However, the POS prepared with much effortMany stores did not useis. I'm not sure if the store clerk doesn't know how to use it, or if it's just a hassle.
Normally, with Lightning payment, the store creates a disposable invoice for each transaction. In other words, the following operations occur at each accounting:
- unlock your phone
- open wallet app
- Tap the receive money button
- Enter amount
- Tap the create invoice button
It would be difficult to accept this system for store clerks who are not accustomed to wallet and POS operations, popular stores where customer turnover is fast and invoice creation is an opportunity cost, and one-operated restaurants where you have to wash your hands every time you create an invoice.
Therefore, almost all stores have paper printed with reusable lightning addresses converted into QR codes.
When paying to this Lightning address,Customer enters payment amount in his walletneed to do it. I have experienced this method in El Salvador, the United States, Europe, etc., and it was acceptable even though the amount of money input was added.
However, this time it was troublesome depending on the wallet used.
Below is the lightning wallet installed on my smartphone.
this house,Muun, Breez, Wallet of Satoshi (WoS) and Phoenix support the Guatemalan currency Quetzalare four. The payment flow when using these wallets is as follows.
- Scan the QR code with your wallet
- Enter the amount in quetzal that the clerk told you
- Tap the send money button
(Muun cannot actually be used for this method of payment, as it does not support flexible amount invoices that do not specify an amount.)
But what about non-quetzal wallets?
- Scan the QR code with your wallet
- told the clerkConvert quetzal-denominated amounts to bitcoin-denominated with a currency converter app
- Show the screen of the currency conversion app to the store clerk and have them approve the payment amount in Bitcoin
- 3 ofAdd a little to the amount denominated in BitcoinEnter the amount in the wallet amount field
(In consideration of the possibility that the rates referenced by the currency conversion app, the store's wallet and my wallet are different, to avoid the situation where the store's wallet receives insufficient amounts in quetzal)
- Tap the send money button
- Confirmation that the amount in quetzal has arrived in the store wallet
It's a lot of work. Moreover, inputting the amount in bitcoin in 3 takes an extra step depending on the wallet.
BBW and BlixlLimit bitcoin denominated amount to input in sats unitsdoing. Therefore, it is necessary to convert bitcoin to sats and enter it by relying on the dollar displayed in the currency conversion application and the dollar display of the wallet, without making a mistake in the digits.