Many people still decry the slow performance of the bitcoin blockchain (3-7 transactions per second), but there is already a fully functional third-layer solution that has largely resolved this problem. It is known as the Lightning Network (LN), and bitcoin transactions are practically free and instantaneous. The number of Lightning Network nodes has grown steadily since the start of 2018, and the only issue is adoption and a lack of usability for those who are not technologically savvy.
The Coca-Cola Lightning Network vending machine
A Spanish hardware hacker by the name of Ricardo Reis has hacked a Coca-Cola vending machine to accept Lightning Network transactions. Simply by scanning a QR code, the machine authorizes the bitcoin transaction in return for Coca-Cola. While this idea may be deemed novel, it does demonstrate how very easy it is to integrate LN with existing hardware and software products, even vending machines.
The issue still lies in the adoption of the technology. Even among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, the usage of LN wallets is still very low, despite the fact that it is very practically free and instantaneous. The vending machine hack has no affiliation with Coca-Cola. However, they could, like many other high profile companies, very easily facilitate this kind of transaction on a mass level if desired.
Achieving widespread Lightning Network adoption
There was a recent discussion of Starbucks integrating bitcoin payments due to their association with the Bakkt digital assets exchange. In the end, this turned out to be no more than rumors and speculation. However, if a tier-one company like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, or Starbucks were to integrate LN or even simple bitcoin payments, it could open the floodgates for widespread bitcoin adoption.
The fact that no company has yet done this is surprising. It would be quite easy to do, and the PR it would generate would put the company at a distinct advantage. It would also generate increased business. The cryptocurrency community is very passionate about the technology, and individuals typically seek out avenues where they can transact in crypto, indirectly promoting the technology via spending habits which increase circulation and awareness.
Unfortunately, these avenues are incredibly limited due to the reticence of large-cap companies to incorporate DLT. The ones that do will have an increased revenue stream from certain segments of the economy.
Digital Nomad with an interest in Zen and Blockchain technology.
Law graduate with 3 years experience as a consultant in the capital markets industry and 4 years experience freelancing on UpWork as a Creative Writer.