Blockstream Launches Micropayments Processing System for Bitcoin Apps

Bitcoin startup Blockstream has introduced a micropayment processing system that it claims makes it simpler to build bitcoin payment apps.

Jan 17, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:23 a.m. UTC

Bitcoin startup Blockstream has released a micropayment processing system that it claims makes it simpler to build bitcoin apps on top of its Lightning Network.

Called Lightning Charge, the system complements Blockstream’s existing Lightning Network implementation "c-lightning" and is intended to make life easier for developers creating Lightning-powered payments applications, the firm said.

According to a company blog post:

"Together, these additions make it easy for developers to use c-lightning to create their own, independent web-payment infrastructures."

Lightning Charge is written in node.js and its features can be accessed using an API via its JavaScript and PHP libraries, both of which are part of Blockstream's Elements Project.

"Web developers will ... get expanded functionality such as currency conversion, invoice metadata, streaming payment updates, and webhooks," the post states.

To demonstrate its technology, Blockstream has also announced the launch of e-commerce store powered by Lightning Charge, which enables users to make use of Lightning micropayments on the bitcoin mainnet. However, since Lightning is still at the testing stage, the company says use of the store is "at your own risk."

While still not ready for general use, the Lightning Network is one of the most-watched bitcoin-scaling solutions.

Rather than changing bitcoin's underlying code, Lightning effectively adds an extra layer to the network by which transactions would theoretically be made more cheaply and more quickly than directly on bitcoin's blockchain.

Last month, prepaid phone payment provider Bitrefill reportedly used Lightning to top up a cellphone.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Blockstream.

Coins image via Shutterstock

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