What is The Bitcoin Lightning Network?
The Lightning Network is a second-layer technology on Bitcoin's network and is designed to provide global scalability for Bitcoin. It enables peer-to-peer payments to be made almost instantaneously and with little to no fees.
When sending small amounts of Bitcoin on The Lightning Network, the unit value is displayed in satoshis (also known as sats). One satoshi equals one hundred millionth of a single bitcoin (0.00000001 BTC).
Why is it worth paying attention to?
2021 has been a record-breaking year for Bitcoin Lightning, which has tripled in capacity so far. According to data from Glassnode, payment channels on The Lightning Network held 3174 BTC on December 16th, compared to 1060 BTC on January 1st.
The inflection point for The Lightning Network this summer is owed (in part) to the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender for the first time in El Salvador on September 7th. Salvadorans send, receive and store Bitcoin using digital wallets like Chivo and Strike. Just one month later, president Nayib Bukele announced that more people in El Salvador have Bitcoin wallets than bank accounts.
There has been a huge amount of innovation on The Lightning Network - not just at a core protocol level, but the applications that are being built on it. Another big vote of confidence for Lightning came in September 2021 when Twitter launched it's Bitcoin tipping feature, which introduced Lightning to an audience who may not have been aware of it already.
How is the Lightning Network connected to Podcasting?
The listener can send small payments of Bitcoin to the podcaster as they are listening in real-time. They can set the number of sats they want to stream every minute they listen and send a Boost (think of this as a tip with a message).
Rather than the creator setting a price and putting content behind a paywall, it is open to everyone and the listener pays what they want. This model, coined by Curry and John C. Dvorak, is known as "Value 4 Value".