Since it’s birth in 2009, “Satoshi Nakamoto’s” undeniably amazing brainchild has stood up to all the challenges it has faced. Bitcoin has truly made it’s father/mother or whatever proud by opening the door to a new age for other such alternative currencies/technologies, while still holding on to its head start(in terms of market cap and price).

 

Yes, Bitcoin still leads the way in terms of its total market cap and average price, but its value as a relevant means of regular retail transacting, like paying for coffee or a happy meal is being put to the test.

 

In recent news, the $9 billion (R107 million) startup online payments company, Stripe, is putting an end to th service that enables consumers to pay retailers in BITCOIN. Tom Karlo , Stripe’s product manager wrote in an announcement, “Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense,”

 

Stripe is not the only one, a video game store front, Valve, stopped accenting BITCOIN in December for similar reasons. BITCOIN transactions have become slow and expensive as it has gained popularity and this leaves the runway open for other digital currencies to strut their stuff. Possibly prove themselves more applicable in everyday use.

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With the release of a testing version on the 10 of January this year. Maybe/hopefully right on time for BITCOIN Zealot’s , the Lightning Network , if it is a success , could help BITCOIN remain relevant as a currency. By that I mean , make it cheaper and faster to transact using BITCOIN. This would then consolidate it’s claim as the Big Daddy of digital currency.

How?

Lightning Network bypasses the sluggish side of the blockchain by using what they call “payment channels”. The system is said to reduce the number of messages that the blockchain has to process. Every transaction , no matter how big or small is broadcast across and computed by the entire blockchain network. Through these payment channels, users can transfer BITCOIN without the protracted waiting time.

 

This is because transactions are not committed to the blockchain , they are recorded on the Lightning Network without being finalised. It is then broadcast later to BITCOIN’s network as a message describing the final balances, thus closing the channel and securing the balance record on the blockchain.

 

Keeping in mind that these technologies are both experimental(BITCOIN and Lightning Network), and that fact is even more true of the Lightning Network. Humanity created blockchain technology, now it’s being tested and the only viable Guinea pigs are us .

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Joel Bonga

Joel is a believer in the potential of blockchain technology and finds crypto trading quite exciting. He is also a cofounder of Existence Digital, a technology distribution company.