This Electric Bike Runs on the Bitcoin Lightning Network

Author: 
Michael R.
Date: 
November 06, 2018
Read time: 
2 minutes
Lightning Network
Future
Adoption

The Bitcoin Lightning network is a technological layer which helps facilitate Bitcoin payments in a faster and cheaper manner. The infrastructure of the Lightning Network is not mature yet, but thanks to some dedicated enthusiasts, it is starting to be applied in ways you would not imagine.

The Bitcoin Lightning network is a technological layer which helps facilitate Bitcoin payments in a faster and cheaper manner. The infrastructure of the Lightning Network is not mature yet, but thanks to some dedicated enthusiasts, it is starting to be applied in ways you would not imagine.

Meet Matthias Steinig, a developer who is implementing the Lightning Network for his own projects. He has two main projects right now. One is an online store where you can purchase items from his shop via the lightning network in real time. The other is a more novel idea which we will focus on in this article, a rentable electric bike which runs off of the lightning network. Let’s explain what this really means.

The Electric Bike

A person can choose to rent this electric bike by paying a cheap fee, as low as 250 satoshis for one minute of usage. Once paid, they gain a “boost” which initiates the electrical components of the bike and lets you ride.

Steinig explains the system in his own words:

“Once the payment has been made, the system will power on for the selected time and you can start driving !!! After the end of the paid time, the system switches off and the power supply is interrupted - of course, you can continue driving, but only with muscle power. The program returns to the home screen and you can book new time again. If it did not work, the start screen will be displayed and you can try it again.”

bitcoin lightning network

There is an LCD screen on the bike which lets you select the amount of time you would like, and allows you to scan a QR code from your phone to make the payment.

This is a very clever use of technology and all of the technology is open-sourced. This means that other developers can access the code that runs the software and amend it for their own needs and launch their own bike rental service if they desire.

The Lightning Network Represents the Future

For those not cryptocurrency savvy, 250 satoshis are extremely cheap and not practical to send over the base Bitcoin network. At the time of this writing, 250 satoshis is ~$0.016, expressed as .00000250 BTC. Sending this tiny amount, commonly known as a micropayment, is infeasible as network fees would be higher than the amount you are sending. Thanks to the lightning network, a private network built on top of Bitcoin’s blockchain, micropayments are now possible and practical. This is just a small glimpse into what is possible with the Bitcoin Lightning Network, but we are excited to see how it progress throughout 2019.

If you want to learn more about cryptocurrencies and get invested today, check out our start investing course!

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