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Bitcoin’s Lightning Network receiving micropayments thanks to Joule Allowances

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is getting micropayments thanks to something called Joule Allowances. This invention is thanks to the mind of one Willie O’Beirne, co-founder of Grant.io.

The future of Lighting Network

According to Bitcoinist, these Joule Allowances are possible thanks to a browser extension that ties to the Lightning Network. It’s called WebLN, and takes advantage of a user’s own connected Lightning Node to do so. Essentially, you can “configure an allowance for any application”. Once done, payments will be made automatically from there. The official blog post uses a video streaming platform as an example – one that charges you every minute of viewing time.

From there, the post goes into the different types of allowance configuration:

  • Balance — This is the maximum amount of money that can be spent on the application in total. As payments are made, your balance will be depleted. You can come back in here and click the refill button at any time to top up.
  • Max Payment — This is the most any individual invoice payment can be without your explicit confirmation.
  • Cooldown — This is how frequently payments can be made, in seconds. This will prevent malicious websites from trying to drain your allowance by spamming a bunch of small payments.
  • Notifications — Whether or not to notify you each time a payment is made. By default, each payment will give you a little prompt to let you know how much you just paid, and how much balance you have left.

Solving problems left and right

Also, thanks to the WebLN API, the application can inform you of when a payment is started or when it’s done. That, and it will let you know of any issues that pop up too. A ton of the implementations here are direct solutions to common complaints with Lightning Apps. Of course, this doesn’t make O’Beirne’s solution the ultimate one, but it’s a step in the right direction. The co-founder hopes he can inspire other developers to push micro-payments as well, as they’re great for online trading purposes.

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