As of March 2019, everybody and their mother has already heard about the Lightning Network and its potential. If Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Twitter, received the LN torch (part of the #LNTrustChain movement) and has posted a series of tweets to popularize Bitcoin’s second layer, then you know that this technology is going mainstream.
Just by running Pierre Rochard’s Node Launcher on your computer or purchasing a Casa Node (whose software has also been open-sourced for every Raspberry Pi out there), you can use some satoshis to open a few channels and witness the marvel of instant and “unfairly cheap” transactions. It has gotten so simple that you no longer need coding skills, and you can access all the features available so far with just a few clicks. Soon enough, this reckless and experimental technology will be ready for mainstream adoption, and we’ll see how every major retail store runs a node and has open channels.
It’s all great news for the tech geeks, but it’s equally importing to see if the demand for Lightning goods and services is matched by a proportional supply. Sure, it’s been about a year since Blockstream has started to sell stickers and t-shirts on its online store. Likewise, Bitcart allows you to spend your BTC on Amazon by acting as a third party, Bitrefill opens Lightning channels for you in exchange for main chain bitcoins, and LN Pizza empowers you to get Domino’s pizza for which you pay with satoshis.
— Lightning Pizza (@LN_Pizza) March 1, 2019
However, these services are designed specifically to increase Lightning adoption and don’t really count as businesses that integrate LN payments. There’s a difference between a local coffee shop becoming bullish on Bitcoin’s second layer and a team of developers thinking of creative ways to allow people to experiment with channel payments.
That’s why this article will focus on goods and services that you can purchase via Lightning from businesses that aren’t in any way affiliated with Blockstream or Casa, or any other crypto-related company. Real adoption comes from real enthusiasts who take the plunge into the unknown by giving this new and exciting means of payment a try. So physical shops were preferred over their online counterparts.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the locations are determined according to their listing on the Accepting Lightning website, which is constantly being updated. It’s likely that more places exist and engage in similar practices, but they will most likely become the subject of another updated article. Also, it’s not guaranteed that the support for LN is sustained, so it’s better to check before making any kind of purchase.
- Read more: The 5 crypto Trends to Watch in 2019
Shops that accept Lightning payments in the North and South America
If you’re in Phoenix, Arizona, then you should stop by the Classic Crust Pizza restaurant and order an Italian Stallion for $14,95. They also have wings, appetizers, salads, pasta, desserts, and grinders – made in both traditional Italian fashion, or modern American. You don’t even have to worry about touching some dirty fiat, as they allow you to pay via Lightning. And if you’re feeling like staying at home, they also make deliveries.
In De Witt, Iowa, close to the border with the state of Illinois, you will find the fabrics shop Heartland Cottons. According to Accepting Lighting, this is the only venue in the central part of the United States where you can spend some satoshis on Bitcoin’s second layer. If you’re travelling on I-80 and can take a detour on US 61, then you may purchase some beautiful quilts from Heartland Cottons.
Deli Volv is a catering service from the Western side of North Carolina, close to the border with the state of Tennessee. People from the Asheville area can pick up or order deli sandwiches with tasty ingredients, salads, or steaks. The weekly schedule is constantly changing according to orders, so if you want something special it’s better to plan ahead on what kind of tasty food you want to spend your satoshis.
- Read more: Running a Lightning node just got easier
Vape Crypto is based in Branchburg, New Jersey, and is the only business in the US to brag about using the Lightning Network right on their homepage. If smoking e-cigarettes and refilling them with flavoured liquids is something that you enjoy, then they offer a large variety of products and accessories from dozens of brands. They also offer free domestic shipping for orders that exceed $40, so here’s to hoping that your lungs will stay perfectly healthy.
The city of Keene, New Hampshire, is the host of “Route 101 Local Goods”. This store allows you to purchase t-shirts, tote bags, stickers, and lots of other hand-made items that are made by local artisans. It’s the kind of place where you can discover the works of talented folks, and you also get the chance to support the local economy. It’s also the only business to offer a special discount for Bitcoin purchases – anything that you buy via Lightning is cheaper by 5%.
Last but not least, we go to Belo Horizonte in Brazil and take a look at the Hospedaria ABP student dorm room. If you study at one of the local institutions of education, then you are able to pay for the rent with some digital gold. By US standards, the accommodation prices are really cheap and start from $145 a month. So if you want to take a university course in Brazil and relive your glory days, then you might want to consider this affordable option.
Lightning Network-friendly locations in Asia and Australia
Inhabitants of Pattaya City, Thailand, can benefit from couples therapy, counselling, psychotherapy and sex therapy from Dr. Richard L. Fellner. The psychologist seems to have also worked in Vienna, Austria and Bangkok, India, and his specialty is in relationship issues. It’s a little strange to know that this is the only place where you can purchase an item or service via Lightning Network in all of the Asian continent, but the situation will definitely get better in the future.
If you visit Brisbane in Australia, then you can stop by The Botanist Kitchen and Bar. It’s located within the perimeter of the Brisbane Airport, at level 4 before the security check. Here you’ll find Australian cuisine, as well as beverages to warm your heart before you embark on your next flight. Lightning Network payments will definitely make your day better.
When you visit Melbourne, Australia, you should stop by Swanston St. to visit one of the two locations of Mind Games. In these stores you’ll find board games, miniatures with customizable accessories, tabletop RPG adventures, and more. Your next geeky party is about to get a boost, and paying with Lightning will help you prove everyone that these transactions are fast and unfairly cheap.
Buying with Lightning in Europe
Do you like cheese? Well, if you happen to be in Spain then you gotta check out Quesos El Pilar. By paying about 100 euro via Lightning, you can have a large piece of delicious cheese delivered right to your door. The business, which has an extensive experience of over 80 years in the world of delicious dairy products, is also willing to make international shippings for large quantities. And while the delivery company won’t get to you with the speed of Lightning, at least your payment will get across really fast.
In the beautiful Italian city of Rovereto, you will find a bar named “Mani al Cielo”. While there isn’t much information available about the venue, Trip Advisor lists mostly positive reviews from tourists who were pleasantly surprised by the small prices and the availability of newspapers. It’s not quite a pizza place, but at least you get to spend some BTC via Lightning in an unexpected place.
If you’re into extreme sports and always wanted to try paragliding in the beautiful Swiss mountains, then you should really check out Para Easy in Ingenbohl. The business has been accepting Bitcoin since 2011, so it made a lot of sense for them to embrace the Lightning Network in an early phase. The fast payment and instant confirmation will help you start your adventure faster and actually remember that you’ve done something memorable with your bitcoins.
Also in Switzerland, if you happen to visit the city of Bern and need to stop for a quick healthy meal, then you might want to consider Energy Kitchen. They offer coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, pastries, and mueslis. The business has a point of sale, but also does home or office deliveries according to online orders. Lightning payments are advertised on the front page of their website, and their enthusiasm is highly appreciated.
ROOM77 is a restaurant from Berlin, Germany. What sets it apart is the promise that the guests will find “warm beer, cold women, and fast food served slow”. The venue‘s humorous website also includes a Bitcoin public key, but there is no clear mention of Lightning. Yet given their enthusiasm over “the end of capitalism” and direct endorsement of BTC, you most likely won’t have to bargain with the waiter about paying your beer through the second layer.
The last place in the world to accept Lightning payments (just kidding, it just happens to be the last one mentioned in this article) can be found in Gniezno, Poland. Web designer Jacek Kołodziejczak takes pride in accepting Lightning payments in exchange for his services, and appears to be open to some altcoins too (most notably Litecoin and Dash). So if you need someone to build your company’s new website and you want to spend your satoshis, then you know whom to call.
The Lightning Network is still in its experimental phase, and the fact that some businesses accept BTC transfers through the protocol demonstrates both recklessness and faith in this new emerging technology. While the numbers may seem unimpressive right now, it’s very likely for an increase to happen thanks to the success of node solutions and the growth of the Lightning community.
As more channels get open, traditional merchants will become more interested in supplying this demand. But until then, let’s take a moment and salute these courageous pioneers who embrace the future of payments. Chapeau!