A Ukrainian citizen was recently sent cash in Poland from Miami, US, via Bitcoin’s Lightning network and a bit of assistance from a BTC developer who helped the citizen download and set up a crypto wallet on phone. The citizen received the sum in Bitcoin on her crypto wallet and was able to withdraw the amount in cash through a Bitcoin ATM, with the entire process taking roughly three minutes to complete. The process highlights how efficiently the Lightning system works for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and how you could use it for cross-border payments too.
As per a CNBC report, the Ukrainian citizen downloaded a self-custodial crypto wallet app for Bitcoin and Lightning on her phone and generated an invoice as a QR code. Those over at CNBC then captured that QR code using the scan mode in crypto wallet of their own and transferred over 50,000 sats (or Satoshis) with the transaction fees amounting to a negligible amount. The Ukrainian who was at the location of a Bitcoin ATM in Southwest Poland was then able to withdraw the sum in cash.
Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is a layer-2 system constructed on top of Bitcoin to enable people to spontaneously transfer/ receive payments and lessen transaction fees by keeping them off the main network. The Lightning Network essentially helps Bitcoin to be more serviceable as a day-to-day currency.
In a transaction, you can only send a minimum amount of Bitcoin — approximately 0.00000546 BTC. At the time of writing, that’s roughly Rs. 17. The Lightning Network enables you to push the limits to transact the smallest unit available — 0.00000001 BTC, or one Satoshi.
The high fees on routine transactions make sending small amounts on blockchain seem useless. Though in a channel, you’re free to transfer a fraction of a Bitcoin for free.
Bitcoin’s Lightning Network offers users a great degree of confidentiality. While you can look at the blockchain and point out that this transaction opened a channel, you won’t be able to tell what’s going on inside it. If the participants make their channel private, only they will know about the transactions taking place.