In spite of China’s move to criminalize all forms of cryptocurrency trading – effectively making bitcoin illegal in the country – the price of the world’s leading digital asset has not been impacted significantly. Twitter announced the clampdown one day after it announced that its 330 million active users will be able to send bitcoin instantly and at virtually no cost using the Lightning Network, which is built on top of bitcoin’s primary layer and is expected to propel the cryptocurrency into the mainstream.
That’s not all! Twitter wants to take crypto recognition to another level. The Verge reported that the company is also planning to let users link their crypto wallets to Twitter and to introduce a method to allow users to verify their ownership of NFTs using a special badge.
In 2009, bitcoin was launched as an open-source monetary network using blockchain technology to create a form of digital currency completely independent of central banks. China was initially tolerant of the technology, but its opposition has grown in recent months. In June, the authoritarian government banned local banks from enabling cryptocurrency transactions and outlawed the energy-intensive practice of bitcoin mining, in which specialist computers are put to work solving complex problems in a race to earn newly minted bitcoins.
Last week, Twitter began integrating the Strike bitcoin Lightning wallet with its platform, enabling users to send and receive bitcoin as easily as tweeting a thought. Even though the launch was largely ignored by the media, its significance cannot be overstated. Many bitcoin critics have long argued that the cryptocurrency could not be scaled for mass adoption due to its slow processing time and high costs. An average Bitcoin transaction costs $8 and takes about 20 minutes to verify. However, fees and timeframes vary depending on the network demand.
Lightning solves this problem by processing transactions off-chain through a secondary layer that can, in theory, handle millions of payments a second (Visa, by comparison, processes about 1,700 payments a second). In fact, the company behind the Lightning Network received funding from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who has supported cryptocurrency from the start.
The strike is currently only available in the United States. But as crypto becomes the norm, such applications are expected to expand their coverage. Besides letting users know that they’ve been tipped, Twitter will let all users respond to the tipper and an invoice will be issued to track tips. Twitter is also planning to allow users to authenticate their ownership of NFTs on the platform, which will be displayed in the form of a badge.