One of the most important scaling solutions for Bitcoin, the Lightning Network, is getting shaped with the help of different developers. Each month, the developers behind the Lightning Network (LN) show their progress and how the LN is nearer from becoming reality.
Now, Blockstream, has unveiled very useful Lightning Applications that are known as LApps. The number of incredible things that can be performed with these applications is growing and Blockstream has shown the world what LApps can offer.
In this article, we will show some LApps that were presented during Blockstream’s “Week of LApps.” These applications are based on the Lightning Charge micropayment processing system that is written in node.js.
FileBazaar LApp – The e-Commerce Tool for Content Creators
FileBazaar is an e-commerce tool for content creators created on top of the Lightning Network. The FileBazaar app allows for Lightning micropayments to be processed for creators that produce content in digital formats like photos, videos or documents.
The FileBazaar app has a pay-per-view system that shows samples of creator’s files before it offers the viewer access to the rest of the file with a Lightning payment to the creator’s Lightning Charge server.
“LApps like FileBazaar dramatically change the dynamics for content creators on the internet. Traditionally, they have been dependent on advertising revenues, which requires them to work through online advertising platforms,” explains FileBazaar’s LApp overview.
FileBazaar gives more control to consent consumers, which can purchase the files they need when they need them. Lightning Network allows individuals to send instant micropayments to the creators of their choice.
Nanotip LApp – Privacy for Micro Tips
Another important application developed is the Nanotip LApp. Tipping online has become an important way to support content creators when they upload interesting material. With Bitcoin, creators received an incredible opportunity to be easily compensated for their creations. But there was one problem related to privacy.
If the tipping address remained for a long period of time unchanged, then, the recipient could be linked with a Bitcoin address. This created an important privacy problem that needed to be addressed.
Nanotip is the solution to this problem. The LApp announced by Blockstream, is the third LApp created that uses the Lightning Network Charge micropayment processing system in order to test Blockstream0s c-lightning implementation of the LN.
The Nanotip LApp creates a simple webserver that writes Lightning payment requests on the fly. That gives each content provider their own tip-bot, but does it in a way that keeps those creators in total control. Additionally, provides stronger privacy settings than a classic Bitcoin tipjar.
Nanopos LApp – Point-of-Sale Simplicity
Another interesting LApp presented by Blockstream is known as Nanopos. Nanopos is a streamlined point-of-sale system that is intended for businesses with fixed-price items. Some examples of this commerce can be coffee shops and falafel stands.
With Nanopos, Vendors have the possibility to create their entries for their items. When buyers want to purchase a product they will see the entries on a graphical screen. When they want to pay, then select the item, receive a QR code and then they are able to make a payment to the vendor’s Lightning Charge server.
Nanopos works as follows:
“Vendors create entries for their items in a config file, which consumers will then see listed on a simple graphical screen. The buyers choose their items and receive a QR code, which they can use to make a payment to the vendor’s Lightning Charge server.”
It is interesting to see that the Tel Aviv Bitcoin Embassy is considering using this LApp so as to sell items like snacks and t-shirts. Nanopos works great for vendors that are interested in the technology and in cryptocurrencies.
Papyercall – Next-Gen Web of Micropayments
This application known as Paypercall, is one of the most flexible LApps created up to date, according to Blockstream. Paypercall fulfills the long-held promise of a next-gen web of micropayments. With this application, a developer can request a payment for specific, programmatic API sections.
Paypercall allows developers to require a micropayment or fee, for example, when a user sends an SMS or if you want to offer image processing services. With this LApp, developers have instantaneous access to an API’s functionality.
“Node.js programmers can access paypercall directly as an express middleware that requires payments to the developer’s Lightning Charge server before it allows API requests to pass through. Other developers can run paypercall as a reverse proxy, which similarly intercepts service calls until payments have been made,” explains Blockstream.
It is very simple to use that. The user needs to access the developer’s URL to create a Lightning Network invoice, and after they pay it, they can make their function call, running the service that the developer provides.
Blockstream says that this is one of the most important applications that have been released, “because anything is possible.” With it a new class of services on the internet can start to flourish, being Paypercall the founding LApp.
There are many LApps that Blockstream has released and that have an incredible potential to shape the future. Blockstream is trying to solve problems that undermine trust in today’s financial systems.
The Lightning Network addresses some of the scaling issues that Bitcoin faces, even when there is still a lot of work to be done. With Blockstream, the number of LApps is growing, but is still a small amount before we can experience their effects on the bitcoin ecosystem.
Paypercall, Nanotip, Nanopos and FileBazaar are just some of the possible applications that can be created using Blockstream’s Lightning Charge. Another important and interesting LApp is known as The Lightning Publisher for WordPress, that aims to enable an easy and transparent way to monetize online content.
In the coming months, more important developments related with the Lightning Network and micropayments will be unveiled. Developers and enterprises are working every single day in order to bring new products and services to the market. But the most important, with Lightning Network Bitcoin will be able to improve its scalability reducing fees and enabling instant transactions.