Nothing can stop Bitcoin, but many things can prevent those who need it from using it, just to write a few:
not everyone is always connected to the internet, not everyone has a smartphone, and most of the documentation isn't localized in their native language.
The Lightning Foundation born with this in mind, providing easy access to a global currency to people that need it and collecting the efforts of other companies with the same intent.
What is it?
The Lightning Foundation is more than one thing:
- It's a web platform designed for anonymous micro-donations made with Lightning network, where we will host partners fundraising campaigns. We don't take any commission, and you can donate down to 100 satoshis. Partners are those companies that support us to reach our goals.
- It's a technology organization that works for the development of some of the not-yet-existing elements we need, in the true spirit of the open source and collaboration.
- Finally, the foundation takes care of relations with the associations that are already working on the territory in different countries, to provide education and act as hubs for the spreading of our solutions to the people.
How does it work?
The initial idea is to deliver our Bitcoin (+Lightning) nodes in those communities, we will take care of wallet set up, channel balancing and then people will be allowed to connect to that node, with a system of internal accountability like LndHub. If they don't have a recent smartphone, which is very likely, they will receive an NFC card linked to their account. This card is still in development, but you can see some details in this article.
With those cards, or with smartphones, they will be able to pay merchants that will install the point of sale we provide. We will work to build the POS as cheap as possible, and to provide a globally used open protocol for communications between pos and hubs.
Cards can be reloaded from the server so we can credit them some satoshis every month to bootstrap the usage of Bitcoin in daily use.
So it's custodial?
This is the initial idea, I'm also for non-custodial solutions, so if lightning becomes smooth enough to use for masses, I will be more than happy to work in that direction.
Still, to keep risks down, no more than a fixed amount of users will be connected to the same hub, and the wallet on each node will be a multi-signature shared between The Foundation and the association where the hub is located.
We aim to bootstrap the use of Bitcoin where fiat currency isn't reliable, but we don't want to be essential in their economy in the future; that's why every device we provide should be compatible both with our "facilitated" solution and with regular lightning network protocols. Ideally, they will start using it independently from us.
How could point of sales work out of internet coverage?
This has to be evaluated case by case. An idea we have at the moment is to use 900 MHz radio frequencies to link up to 10km from the hub, a solution similar to what goTenna proposes. With their solution, although it isn't cheap enough for our scope at the moment, it's also possible to create a mesh network and extend the range to cover even more significant areas.
There are also ongoing projects to bring internet coverage to the whole world through satellites, like SpaceX's Space Link, and using $200 pizza-box sized antennas. It's not ready yet, but with that plus RF use, we could allow even the most isolated communities to participate in the network.
Can I collaborate?
Sure, this is a big community project we can't sustain alone, reach us for any idea, critic or feedback you have. Bring your skills, your ideas, your company, and reach us to the following contacts.
Telegram discussion group