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Relai Bitcoin Session #17 with Christian Decker & Max Hillebrand: The Bitcoin Devs

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Max Hillebrand

Today, Christian Decker and Max Hillebrand were our guests at the Relai Bitcoin Session.

Christian is one of the first early adopters of Bitcoin after he discovered it in 2009 and turned his hobby into a profession. He has been working as a Bitcoin developer at Blockstream since 2016.

Max is an entrepreneur and freedom-loving Bitcoin extremist who deals in particular with economic issues related to Bitcoin and participates in various open-source projects to give everyone the opportunity to create their own economic reality. Among other things, he works on Wasabi Wallet and Agora Towards Liberty.

You can tune in to the podcast on YouTube.

Alternatively, you can listen in on AnchorFM.

Main Takeaways

Christian and Max are pioneers in the Bitcoin community, working on essential parts of the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Scaling Bitcoin with the Lightning Network (LN)

The current state of the Bitcoin network makes it impractical to use bitcoin as a spending currency for day-to-day transactions, like buying a soda in a shop. Confirmation times take too long, and transaction fees are too high. Fortunately, the Lightning Network – a second-layer solution built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain – enables high-speed, low-cost, and private bitcoin transactions.

“I think Lightning has made many improvements on the technical side. When it comes to the adoption of Lightning among the masses, however, we need to make the technology more accessible and focus less on the exciting tech. Even people who don’t want to take the time to dig into the tech must be able to use bitcoin on the Lightning Network for it to succeed,” Christian explains.

The Lightning Network enables bitcoin holders to use off-chain payment channels to pay another individual or a business directly on a peer-to-peer basis. Only the starting and ending balances when channels are opened and closed are recorded on the blockchain, while the transactions between the two parties remain private. Best of all, Lightning transactions cost next to nothing and settle instantly.

To make Lightning more interesting for non-techy users, however, will take time. “Adoption does come overnight,” Christian explains. “It’s up to us to provide opportunities for new users to use Lightning.”

Podcasting 2.0: Streaming Sats

While the Lightning Network is very much still in its early stages, the first powerful micropayments use cases are already emerging, as Max points out.

Podcasters can now place their Lightning wallet public key on their RSS feed for listeners to send satoshis, for example, for every minute they are tuned in. Alternatively, they can send 5,000 satoshis to give a boost when they particularly like something the podcaster or the guest said,” Max explains.

“What’s more, those Lightning micropayments can be sent to multiple individuals, so each person taking part in the production of the podcast episode can receive their share of the received bitcoin payments,” Max concludes.

Streaming sats is an exciting feature of the Bitcoin Lightning Network that leverages the programmability of Bitcoin. As Christian points out, micropayments could become a new monetization method on the Internet, which still heavily relies on advertising to generate revenues.

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