Block Inc. is a financial technology company that provides payment processing, point-of-sale software, and other financial services. It has been a major contributor to the development of the Lightning Network, which allows Bitcoin users to send and receive payments instantly and with low fees. Block’s commitment to Bitcoin and the Lightning Network is a sign of its belief in the future of cryptocurrency.
At the just concluded Bitcoin and Lightning for Corporation 2023 event, Michael Rihani, the Bitcoin Product Lead at Block and Cash App revealed that the parent company, Block, is working on a lot of products that are based on the Bitcoin network. He noted that the numbers are enormous as the team wants to drive the adoption of Bitcoin around the world.
He told the audience to expect a Bitcoin Hardware wallet from the team called BitKey by Block . He also added that apart from Cash App which is a payment platform for easy transfer of Bitcoin over that uses the Lightning Network, Block is working on Spiral.
Spiral, a Block project, is an independent, bitcoin-focused entity within the Block ecosystem of companies. It builds and funds free, open-source projects that improve Bitcoin’s privacy, security, user experience, and ability to scale.
Spiral has funded a number of projects that are working to improve Bitcoin, including the Lightning Development Kit (a toolkit for developers who want to build Lightning Network applications, Bitcoin Design Community (a community of designers who are working to improve the user experience of Bitcoin), and Bitcoin Development Kit (a toolkit for developers who want to build Bitcoin applications).
Michael added that TBD a subsidiary of Block “is building on and off ramps” for transacting bitcoin and Block’s mining team is developing a “Bitcoin Asic Miner and Mining software”
How Bitcoin is expanding
Speaking about how Bitcoin is gaining attention chiefly from traditional institutions, Michael said that payment merchants around the world “are accepting Bitcoin over the lightning Network today for faster and cheaper payments.”
He added that banks are already integrating the technology into their operations. He cited the recent announcement by Xapo Bank on its Bitcoin Lightning integration to serve its customers, which makes them the first bank to do so.
The comment of Coinbase CEO about Lightning Network being great and hope of integrating it; Robinhood’s consideration of integrating Lightning; Microstrategy’s Bitcoin project; Tesla, and Newegg.com adding Bitcoin to their balance sheet; and Ralph Lauren, AMC Theatres, and chess.com accepting Bitcoin as payment were part of Michael’s case for the expansion of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.
Another example he highlights is in the social media economy, where Nostr, a decentralized social network, “has integrated with the Lightning Network.” For Nostr, he revealed that instead of using the like button, there is a lightning bolt button via which BTC can be sent to creators on the social media platform.
Bitcoin, Lightning Network, AI, and global prosperity
The Product Lead also believes that the combination of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network will help make remittances around the world more efficient. This will be done by “reducing or eliminating middlemen and transaction fees; reward and loyalty programs can be supercharged with instant and seamless micro rewards.”
For content creators, they can receive rewards faster and easier as these technologies are integrated into web browsers, to enable micro-payments as crowdfunding will become easier to participate in. Furthermore, “AI combined with programmable money like Bitcoin and Lightning could unlock new levels of financial automation that we’ve never seen before,” he added.