If you are a regular Twitter user, this is no news to you. For everyone else: on September 23rd, Twitter announced that iPhone users can now “tip” each other on Twitter’s iPhone app using Bitcoin. The company also plans to add support for other gen-z favorites, like venmo, cash app, etc. Additional new blockchain-related features will allow Twitter users to verify ownership of the NFTs they post. This is huge progress on a mainstream platform, solidifying blockchain technology into yet another piece of modern infrastructure.
How Twitter is going to do this:
Unlike Tesla's experiment from earlier in the year, Twitter is not going to run their own Bitcoin nodes and process all the transitions themselves. Instead they will work with Strike, a company that has developed a “Lighting Network” wallet. Users will link their Strike account to their Twitter account in order to send Bitcoin payments. The Lightning network sits on top of the regular Bitcoin network, allowing “Lightning-fast” blockchain payments by sending the payment directly from sender to receiver without waiting for a bunch of nodes around the world to validate the payment. Typical Bitcoin translations are pretty expensive and can take hours to complete during peak demand. By going directly from sender to recipient, Lightning network transactions are cheap - sometimes free - making it perfect for something like tipping on Twitter!
The Cardano Connection:
When Cardano launches its much-anticipated “Layer Two” scaling solution in the next year, it will have something like this Lightning network, but better. Foremost among its advantages will be better reliability and security.
First, a little more about Bitcoin’s Lightning network:
The Lightning network is run by separate computers and different people than the people and computers running the main Bitcoin network. This is because the computers that run Bitcoin have evolved to be single-purpose: they only know how to run the main Bitcoin network. However, since transactions are nearly free on the Lightning network, there is little incentive for people to run it. This is not to say you can’t turn a profit, but it’s not especially easy. Because much of the actual “work” on the lightning network is routing from sender to receiver, it lends itself to big data, bigger, more centralized operators, and the use of expensive tools to make good money. In other words: an uneasy fit in a technology paradigm that values decentralization.
In contrast, Cardano's “fast-network” feature will be provided by a new Cardano tool called “state channels”. Like Bitcoin’s Lightning network, Cardano state channels let payments go from sender to receiver without running through the entire network. Because Cardano stake pools run on generic server environments, the same nodes that run the regular Cardano network can also run state channels. In fact, a single Cardano stake pool server can run 4 to 5 separate blockchain networks on an average-size server. These design features combined with the thousand of stakepool operators already skilled in running a server mean that state channels provide fast, cheap, scalable transactions, while maintaining decentralized security, by simply working within the existing Cardano framework. Note, you don’t have to be a stake pool operator to run a cardano state channel node. You can read more about Cardano side chains and state channels in our library.
It is very cool that Twitter is doing this. Cryptocurrency is thought to have about 3 to 4 percent adoption globally. If Twitter’s 300 million users help raise this adoption a percent or two, that’s a big gain. I’m excited for android support so I can try it out myself; I will be sure to post an update! If you’ve used Strike’s app already or signed up for Bitcoin tipping on Twitter, please share your experience in the comments section below.