Some lucky merchants can now accept bitcoin payments through the Lightning Network without running into risks thanks to CoinGate, which opens a special pilot program allowing 100 merchants to trial a special Lightning Network-enables service version. This version uses the open source technology to increase the speeds and lower the fees associated with bitcoin payments.
Just as with the standard service offered by CoinGate, it is the company that handles crypto-to-fiat currency exchange, but for these 100 merchants, costs are covered in the event that funds will be lost because of the lightning implementations.
Experts largely agree that the Lightning Network is still not ready to support commercial transactions but Rytis Bieliauskas, CoinGate CTO, believes it is important to be among the first companies that test the system. In a statement made exclusively for CoinDesk, he stated:
It’s a very new technology. Inevitably there will be some bugs, either in our implementation or in the Lightning Network. It will help, not just us, but the whole community because the bugs we find might help the whole protocol.
Invoices handled through Lightning are generally limited to 0.042 BTC but through the pilot, there will be no limit on the invoices that are going to be reimbursed by CoinGate in the event funds are lost. While at the moment there are not many shoppers that can use Lightning, the pilot is important as it can provide a first step towards testing feasibility.
One of the merchants that is among the 100 is LiveJasmin, a popular adult content platform. The company has problems with accepting bitcoin payments because of latency. Company head of payments, Tamas Szerencse, declared that instant payments are what is particularly important.
LiveJasmin has around 40 million daily visitors. After participating in CoinGate’s pilot program, the company can become the biggest of the mainstream merchants that experiment with the Lightning Network.
The number of crypto payment processors that are experimenting with the Lightning Network is constantly growing at the moment. The problem is that most of the experts and websites say we are far away from having Lightning usable by mainstream merchants.
The main value of the current pilot is that it gives users the opportunity to participate in research with no risks attached. Alex Bosworth, Lightning developer, fully agreed that the pilot is going to be really valuable for the network. The features that will be the most useful for the merchant are still being developed.