AccessTimeIconJun 7, 2020 at 5:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 17, 2023 at 1:38 p.m. UTC

Bitrefill, founded in 2014 by Sergej Kotliar, allows users to purchase mobile phone credit and gift cards, and send payments through layer-two scaling solution the Lightning Network.

To top up their mobile phone credit, users enter their phone number on Bitrefill’s site and select the amount of credit to add. They are then presented with a wallet address generated by Bitpay, the site indicates how much bitcoin they must send. After the transaction has been validated on the bitcoin blockchain, Bitrefill pays third-party service distributors, which are connected to a variety of telecommunication companies around the globe, and the credit is added to the user’s phone. Credit delivery can take minutes, but the delivery process is instant when users utilize the Lightning Network or Dash InstaSend. Popular service providers compatible with Bitrefill include AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Lyca Mobile and Cricket Wireless.

To buy gift cards using Bitrefill, users similarly enter the amount they’d like to be credited, then pay with bitcoin or other approved coins, and lastly receive a gift card code redeemable for the selected amount. In 2019, the service was available in 170 countries and with over 1,650 businesses including Amazon, Walmart, Nike, Uber and Nintendo.

In January 2019, Bitrefill launched Thor Turbo, a product aimed at simplifying the process of setting up Lightning Network payment channels. With this product, Bitrefill reduces the time required to set up a lightning channel with “turbo channels.” Using the Thor Turbo app, users can bypass the wait and technical work of creating a channel by opening a turbo channel of any size, which can be paid for in bitcoin, ether, dash, litecoin or dogecoin.

In June 2019, Bitrefill announced plans to operate in more countries, and revealed that it secured $2 million in seed funding through a round led by Coin Ninja with participation from litecoin creator Charlie Lee, Fulgar Venture and BnkToTheFuture.

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