Thanks to an initiative by Strike, the Lightning Network will allow 400,000 retailers, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart, to receive payments in Bitcoin (BTC) if they choose. With its parallel arrival on the Robinhood wallet, the Bitcoin network overlay is in the news.
400,000 retailers eligible to be paid in Bitcoin with the Lightning Network
As the Bitcoin 2022 conference is taking place in Miami, Jack Mallers, the founder and CEO of Strike has been causing a stir about the Lightning Network. Strike is a wallet that enables instant payments between people through an overlay of the Bitcoin network, the so-called Lightning Network.
Jack Mallers’ keynote was about a far-reaching partnership between his wallet, as well as Shopify, NCR and Blackhawk Network. This means that no less than 400,000 retailers will be able to accept Bitcoin.
And as if that wasn’t enough, McDonald’s, Walmart and Starbucks are among the names that will be able to accept Bitcoin, just to name a few.
In order to measure the weight of this announcement, it is important to understand that NCR is one of the world leaders in cash registers and ATMs, and that Blackhawk Network is specialized in prepaid gift cards. As for Shopify, it is a reference in online commerce that allows you to easily set up a sales site.
If we still have few details to consider the full scope of the news, we can nevertheless advance that all these brands will be able to receive payments in seconds if they wish.
Jack Mallers also said that all of this would be possible regardless of the currency at the front and back end. He also pointed out, in his own way, the lack of innovation in payment systems until now:
“Since 1949, there has not been a superior payment network that allows us to innovate, to build on financial inclusion, to offer cheaper services, faster services. My grandfather used the same technology I do.”
Robinhood also joins the party
While it was previously only possible to buy and sell Bitcoin on the Robinhood app, here too a Lightning Network integration changes the game. This opens the way to inter-wallet exchange, a feature promised since last fall.
Note, however, that this wallet is still limited outside of Bitcoin. Indeed, the digital wallet still does not support ERC20 tokens of the Ethereum network (ETH), except for the ETH itself, and does not integrate the non-fungible NFT tokens either.
Even so, Robinhood’s product manager Aparna Chennapragada defends a strategic choice that BTC remains the platform’s primary recurring purchase.
While Bitcoin’s Layer 2 has faced criticism and a rocky start, it seems that the tide is slowly turning. Of course, there is no guarantee that all of the aforementioned retailers will actually use the Lightning Network, but they will have the opportunity.
That said, this is a technical solution that reconnects Bitcoin to what it was created to be: a peer-to-peer payment method. Beyond the safe haven aspect of the asset, perhaps 2022 will see the inflection point from which the monetary use of it will develop.