A German-based Lightning Network enthusiasts by the name of Matthias Steinig captured headlines this week. This ingenuitive developer took Bitcoin’s off-chain solution on the road with his latest creation. Matthias used a combination of recent LN developments and created the world’s first LN-powered E-bike. The battery-powered ride allows users to send a Bitcoin micropayment and start traversing the city in style.
The E-bike utilizes a Raspberry Pi controller equipped with Raspiblitz protocol to process Lightning Network payments. A wireless network card allows the system to communicate with the Lightning Network while on the road. The bike incorporates a lightweight battery installed an ordinary 28-inch men’s bike.
A video posted by the developer of this unique E-bike takes a moment to showcase just how easy it is to use. Users can select the amount of time they desire to ride the e-bike via a microdisplay. Once a rider chooses their ride time, the display automatically shows a scannable QR code to accept Lightning Network payment. Users have 60 seconds to make their payment before the unit resets back to stationary mode.
Upon receiving the payment, the Raspberry controller initiates the motor for the predetermined time frame. The entire process is quick and painless. The developer hopes that his invention will help to show people just how secure the Lightning Network is to use.
While the E-bike is functioning correctly, it is still a ways away from any commercial roll out. In its current state, the unit only stops the electric functionality of the bike. This scenario means that people can still ride the bike off into the sunset once their allotted time has transpired. Despite the shortcomings of the project, the concept distinctly accomplishes its goal.
Lightning Network Hardware
Last month Lightning Network enthusiasts were blessed with a steady stream of hardware developments. In the past, Lightning Network developers focused mostly on software to showcase the micro-payment capabilities this game-changing protocol enables. The last two months saw the introduction of numerous Lightning Network powered hardware devices including a coffee machine, a coke vending machine, and a standalone node.
The Lightning Network Expands
The Lightning Network brings new functionality to Bitcoin. Off-chain protocols such as the Lightning Network have long been in use by cryptocurrencies. The Lightning Network creates a secondary layer to Bitcoin’s blockchain. This layer is then used to create personal payment channels between users. These channels give users the ability to send and receive unlimited payments without bogging down Bitcoin’s blockchain.
Step into the Light(ning)
This latest development is sure to capture the attention of the growing E-commuting community. Electric scooter and bike services have become more popular than ever before in major cities across the globe. These devices continue to see expanded use with one report published by the Guardian explaining that the rideshare giant Uber wants to expand into the E-bike sector in the coming months. Considering the success of this E-bike design, you can expect to see more Lightning Network powered transportation devices develop.