🎄Sphinx Chat, LN Kraken, 2021 wish list, awards and much more!

Welcome to the 18th issue of this newsletter which covers everything at the intersection of the Lightning Network and Finance, as well as updates about LN Markets.

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💬 Sphinx Chat with Paul Itoi

Sphinx Chat is the first consumer-focused Lightning chat app, recently listed by Bitcoin Magazine as one of the 21 most influential bitcoin projects and companies of 2020!

You may have noticed that the inventor of the Podcast Adam Curry presented a demo of Lightning integration for podcasting made with Sphinx:

It’s just one of Sphinx’s potential applications. To dive deeper in the whole project, its founder Paul Itoi was kind enough to answer a few questions 🙏

What are the main advantages of a Lightning Network messaging app like Sphinx Chat over encrypted messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal?

Paul Itoi: Most messaging apps run through centralized servers and don't support payments. We're using the peer to peer lightning network to create a better version of the 'free' internet. The world needs an encrypted, decentralized platform where we can talk and pay over the same network.

Sending digitized incentives privately, instantaneously, and across borders is the newest and possibly most potent form of human expression.

How did you come up with Sphinx Chat and how does it work from a technical standpoint?

Paul Itoi: I was reading an article about why Brian Acton left WhatsApp and thought lightning could be used to solve the problem once and for all. I knew it could be something big and felt compelled to write my wife a note to mark the moment.

The first version used 1, 2, and 3 sat payments to transmit the dots, dashes, and pauses of morse code to send letters.

The Sphinx dev team is amazing and took it from there to what it is today. In the current version, we create custom TLV records in LND from Lightning Labs to send messages. We published the spec so others could choose to use the same format: https://github.com/stakwork/lumo-spec

I want to start using Sphinx, what are my different options?

Paul Itoi: Each sphinx user is paired with a dedicated lightning node. We offer hosted nodes through our partnership with Nodl Cloud and on our own batch of nodes we run on AWS virtual machines. Hopefully GetVoltage will offer nodes with Sphinx as well. For home nodes, the latest version of Raspiblitz offers Sphinx and we're working with Umbrel to add support. We'll also make it easy to move from a hosted node to a home device.

How do you leverage instant payments on Sphinx Chat? (what are the main functionalities?)

Paul Itoi: You can use Sphinx as a standard lightning wallet to scan invoices or receive sats. You can also set up a Patreon like recurring payment using our donation widget.

You can join tribes at https://tribes.sphinx.chat and "boost" sats to specific comments or while listening to a podcast. As you listen to a podcast, Sphinx streams sats each minute to the podcast host and to the Podcast Index. The user can choose the number of sats per minute.

The podcasting monetization demo with Adam Curry was impressive. You have also built Sphinxtagram, where users can stack sats when they share their content, unlike traditional platforms. What are your next moves?!

Paul Itoi: Adam & Dave really get what lightning can do to help keep podcasting away from corporate censorship. We should all support Podcasting 2.0.

Sphinxtagram was created by one of our earliest users and best testers (follow @KlausLovgreen).

We're adding multimedia features to the standard audio broadcast to Sphinx. We're working on video and music next.

Bonus questions: Could you make 3 predictions for the LN in 2021?

Paul Itoi: People will have lightning powered cell phones where they pay for the phone by doing tasks for sats.

RGB will be a project to watch.

OnlyFans will look back and wish they had learned about lightning 🙂


Lightning Kraken

He pulled it!

Pierre Rochard just announced that by 2021 Kraken will launch the ability to withdraw using the Lightning Network instantly and for a lower fee. An iteration for making deposits more efficiently will follow. After this, the team will evaluate user feedback and decide what else to prioritize.

Listening to Pierre Rochard is like music to our ears!

🎼🎼🎼

“The Lightning network has matured to a level where it can be used by Kraken. It really comes back to what our users are asking for. They want instant and efficient payments – the ability to deposit and withdraw bitcoin without having to wait for confirmations and without high withdrawal fees”

🐂🐂🐂

“Bitcoin's popularity can cause network congestion and high transaction fees, particularly during bull markets. Lightning technology solves this problem by using the bitcoin blockchain more efficiently.”

🌍🌍🌍

“Let’s look at it from the perspective of the ecosystem and how many participants  there are. The Lightning community has done a great job of growing and building several different implementations. There are multiple different wallet providers, application developers and there’s so much of education and business development.

🌱🌱🌱

“We want the whole industry to adopt this technology, and we want that because we believe it will help everyone. Part of the hope with this announcement is that it gives others the opportunity to join us.”

🌱 Ecosystem

Very cool move from scarce.city: the team announced that all unclaimed deposit refunds from future auctions will go to the Bitcoin non-profit or Core/BTCPay dev of the artist’s choosing! (see our last issue for more info on this Lightning auctions platform).

DeFi on Bitcoin is gaining traction with the launch of Sovryn, a trading & lending platform built on RSK sidechain:


🎁 2021 wish list

Here are a few things we are looking forward to for next year:

  • Stablecoins on Lightning

Lightning disrupting international remittances (btw can’t wait for Strike  European roll-out)

More and more sovereign individuals thanks to easy on-ramps

More an more Lightning developers thanks to the dedication of people like Andreas Antonopoulos

And most of all a more and more robust and secure network


⚡ Bonus: Bitcoin 2020 Awards

To conclude this final issue of the year, we decided to hand out a few very subjective awards:

Best Bitcoin quiz of the year: Nic Carter

What a walk down through memory lane! All answers here

Best corporate blockchain research piece: Eric Wall

Best song of the year: Running Bull (we listened to this one way too much)

And best meme of the year for the master Neeraj (and yes, we took it personally)

What a first year it has been for LN Markets! Thank you all for your support 🤟


Please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter and Telegram.

Thank you for your support and let’s keep building the future of finance together!