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".
This is significant. "For the first time in internet history, creators can build their businesses entirely on open distribution and open monetization platforms", writes podcaster Kevin Rooke on his blog about The Lightning Network. "The Lightning Network's architecture allows creators to earn directly from their biggest fans, in new ways that aren't even possible on a fiat payment system".
How can I start supporting podcasters with Bitcoin?
Podcasts that are set up to receive sats are marked with the Lightning ⚡ icon. If your favourite podcast is not set up yet, why don't you let them know on Twitter and direct them to this page? In fact, you could even tag them in this tweet.
How can I start earning Bitcoin from my podcast?
What is the future of Lightning?
We are beginning to see the impact of Lightning on podcasting as a means of sending value back to creators directly, but it's still very early. In the next couple of years, we expect to see the "Value 4 Value" model transform the creator economy across the board and rival the giants in categories such as music, video and journalism.
It is inevitable that most apps on our phone will soon be equipped to send and receive Lightning payments. We are entering a new era, just as the internet did when it started to hit widespread popularity in the mid-90s. It was only in 2017 that half of the world population was online. The only uncertainty with Bitcoin Lightning is just how long it will take for it to reach ubiquity.
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