Earlier this year, Blockstream announced Lightning Charge, a micropayment processing system that makes it simple for web developers to test Blocksteam’s c-lightning implementation of the Lightning Network. To prove its ease of use, we also unveiled the Blockstream Store, a Lightning-powered e-commerce site built with the WooCommerce Lightning Gateway — a general webcommerce solution for Lightning payments that was also the first Lightning App (“LApp”) to take advantage of the power of Lightning Charge.
It was so simple to use Lightning Charge to create the WooCommerce Lightning Gateway that independent developer Nadav Ivgi has since constructed seven more LApps, each demonstrating a different way that the Lightning Network can enable low-fee, instant bitcoin payments for goods and services. We are adding these to the Elements Project, to make them available to developers who want to start experimenting with the c-lightning implementation of the Lightning Network. We’ll be introducing each of these seven LApps on this blog, over the course of the next week.
Our first new LApp is FileBazaar, an ecommerce tool for content creators. The FileBazaar app enables Lightning micropayments for creators who are producing content in the form of digital files like photos, videos, or documents. The creators are in total control: they list files, set prices, and identify their Lightning Charge server in a simple configuration file. The FileBazaar pay-per-view system shows samples of the creator’s file to viewers before it offers the viewer access to the rest of the file with a Lightning payment to the creator’s Lightning Charge server.
LApps like FileBazaar dramatically change the dynamics for content creators on the internet. Traditionally, they have been dependent on advertising revenues, which requires them to work through online advertising platforms. FileBazaar (and other new LApps that we’ll be announcing in the near future) instead allow creators to conduct business independently online. This puts more control into their hands, realigns their interests with the desires of their patrons, and supports direct lines of communication with consumers.
FileBazaar also gives more control to content consumers. Consumers can purchase just the files they need, when they need them, by sending instant micropayments to the creators of their choice.
We invite you to give FileBazaar a try. Use it to experiment with combining c-lightning and Lightning Charge on testnet to collect micropayments for content or services, in preparation for the c-lightning beta release; or test drive it to get a feel for how to use Lightning Charge. All that you need to get started is a testnet node, a Lightning Charge server, and the FileBazaar LApp.