Bitcoin startup Bitrefill is launching a new service aimed at helping onboard users of the lightning network more quickly.
Cryptocurrency gift card provider Bitrefill has added a service allowing users to book Airbnb rentals with bitcoin, ether and more.
Every year on April 1 – April Fool’s Day – members of the crypto sphere try to outdo each other with nerdier and nerdier inside jokes and pranks, and this year has not proven to be any different.
Subreddit /r/bitcoin saw a fake post in 2015 about a return of all Bitcoin (BTC) stolen from now-defunct crypto exchange Mt. Gox by a former DEA agent seeking a plea deal. In 2017, Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin wrote a prank blog post claiming that ETH would change from its Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm to the Proof of Authority (PoA) in 2018.
This year, Buterin posted another April Fool’s blog post announcing the launch of an Ethereum “stablecoin” called the World Trade Franc (WTF). The WTF, which Buterin refers to as “combin[ing] all benefits of capitalism and socialism with none of the downsides of either,” is currently being marketed to “
sketchy Pacific island nations national governments.” Below is a screenshot of WTF’s “people:”
Jesus Coin, described on Twitter as “THE currency of God’s Son,” tweeted today in another apparent Buterin-related prank about the new addition of Ethereum’s co-founder to their management team:
— Jesus Coin (@Jesuscoinico) April 1, 2018
Coinmarketcap, a popular cryptocurrency market cap ranking resource, added a “Lambo” currency reference for its listed assets, showing how many “Lambos” each currency is roughly worth. As Bitcoin is currently trading for around $6,561, one Coinmarketcap’s “Lambo” is equal to exactly $200,000.
“Just kidding. They wouldn’t do that.
Happy April Fools day!”
Bitrefill, a service for adding money to prepaid phones with Bitcoin, posted on both Twitter and their blog today that they are changing their name to “S**trefill,” even going as far as to change their official URL to mimic their “new name.”
“S**trefill’s” Medium blog post writes that due to a decrease in demand for spending Bitcoin, they are switching their focus over to “s**tcoins,” or coins that “are not perceived as having such a “high long-term value.” The launch of S**trefill’s new token, S**tCoinCash, will support a Lightning Network equivalent called the Crackening Network, according to the Medium post.
Financial news site Finance Magnates posted a legitimate looking “exclusive” on Facebook launching its own cryptocurrency with a “massive” Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that would rival both $850 mln ICOs of Telegram. The fake “Facebook Coin” would require “data such as name, address, phone number, mother’s maiden name and name of first pet,” and would advertise itself on the site, in spite of Facebook’s recent crypto-ad ban.
A slew of prank cryptocurrency launch announcements have also come out today, with blogging site Tumblr’s fake Tumblcoin, design site Houzz’s HouzzCoinzz, and grocery store chain Sam’s Club’s bulkcoin.
Meanwhile, crypto commenter @WhalePanda tweeted earlier today that the real April Fool’s joke is Bitcoin’s price:
— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) April 1, 2018
Faster and cheaper bitcoin transactions may soon go alive.
A recent transaction posted on Twitter from inside the offices of prepaid phone payment provider, Bitrefill, used the Lightning network to top up a mobile (for real) at near instant speed with zero free, as the Tweet touted.
While such transaction is not yet generally available to the public and may still be largely limited to command line interfaces, it nonetheless gives a peek into how the future may look like for regular bitcoin users.
— Alex Bosworth (@alexbosworth) December 28, 2017
Lightning has been one of the most watched bitcoin-scaling solutions. It’s a new layer of abstraction atop the bitcoin protocol that allows transactions to occur more quickly and cheaply, without sacrificing the security. According to data site Bitinfocharts, currently the average transaction fee of bitcoin is at $36.
Yet, people who saw Bosworth’s tweet may have been confused because the use case isn’t visible to Bitrefill customers. According to CEO Sergej Kotliar, the transaction shown occurred when Bosworth was testing out Bitrefill’s implementation with one of the company’s developers, by invitation. Bosworth needed to refill his phone at the time anyway, so he decided to test it with real money. It worked.
“Everything is ready to go on our end, but we’re not launching it yet until a Lightning wallet is released for general use on mainnet.”
Wallets need to be updated in order to interact with the Lightning protocol layer, and this has not generally happened yet, Kotliar explained.
Based in Stockholm, Bitrefill primarily focused on enabling people to pay for prepaid phones with cryptocurrency. “Our high-level company vision is to enable people all over the world to use bitcoin as money. Practically we enable people to use their coins to buy everything that is digital and money-like, so pay their bills, refill their phones, vouchers, etc,” its CEO told CoinDesk in an email.
Noting that production implementations of new innovations often surface tricky problems, the small team at Bitrefill decided one way it could contribute to bitcoin was to move quickly to adopt Lightning, but doing so also helped it to address frequent concerns voiced by its consumers around transaction costs and delays.
“Recent mempool overloads have affected us hard, but over time a bigger concern for us has been confirmation times,” Kotliar wrote. “Here the instant transactions of lightning lets us make a truly great customer experience. Lightning solves not only confirmation times but also many other UX problems of bitcoin.”
Kotliar urged peer companies not to wait to implement Lightning. He wrote:
“Integration with Lightning has been surprisingly easy. It runs in a way similar to how bitcoin works, and fits neatly with how our and many company wallets work already.”
Lightning bolt photo via Shutterstock.
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