MicroBT COO Jordan Chen Discusses The Company’s Long-Term Goals And The Newest Whatsminers At Bitcoin 2023


MicroBT, a leading manufacturer of Bitcoin mining rigs, is focused on addressing the need for upgraded power sources in bitcoin mining. In an interview conducted at Bitcoin 2023 in Miami Beach, MicroBT’s COO, Jordan Chen, emphasized the company’s commitment to developing a solar power mining solution. According to Chen, “Solar power is a perfect power source for bitcoin mining, both in terms of decentralization and sustainability.” He further explained that MicroBT is working with partners along the value chain to provide a mature solution that utilizes solar power for mining worldwide.

Chen elaborated on the adjustment of voltage and frequency in MicroBT’s Whatsminer rigs to adapt to the change in solar power. He stated, “The mining machine has to adapt to the power changes so as to keep mining throughout the day with various working voltage and frequency.” Chen highlighted that this dynamic adjustment only costs about “1% to 2% efficiency compared to traditional shut-down-and-reboot method,” ensuring continuous mining operations and optimizing revenue.

Discussing the cooling methods in the new Whatsminer M50 series, Chen provided insights into the benefits and unique features of each method. He explained, “Air-cooling is taking away heat via fans, while hydro-cooling uses water-cooling pads which eliminate the need for fans, heat sinks, and offer a longer lifetime.” Regarding immersion cooling, Chen highlighted its advantages, stating, “It’s really no dust, no exposure to corrosive air, low noise and a longer lifetime.”

Chen shared MicroBT’s focus on heat utilization scenarios, stating, “The heat generated during the mining process will be transferred to an outside heating loop through a heat exchanger.” He further explained that the heat recovery ratio can be as high as 95%. Chen emphasized MicroBT’s collaboration with customers on various applications, such as providing heating services to communities and generating steam for industrial uses like food processing.

When discussing MicroBT’s vision for the future of Bitcoin mining, Chen emphasized their commitment to leveraging renewable energies and maximizing the reuse of heat generated during mining. He stated, “Our vision is allowing bitcoin mining to make a bigger and bigger positive contribution to society,” with a focus on minimizing carbon emissions and carbon footprint.

BIT Mining And Chain Reaction Partner To Create New Bitcoin Mining Systems


BIT Mining Limited has announced a collaboration with semiconductor company Chain Reaction to develop next-generation systems for bitcoin mining. According to a press release, the collaboration aims to leverage Chain Reaction’s ‘EL3CTRUM ASIC’ solution to create hardware that delivers industry-leading performance with low power consumption.

The press release states that Chain Reaction specializes in designing hardware for blockchain, privacy, high-performance computing (HPC) and the cloud. With a team experienced in analog and circuit design, the company has successfully produced 30 ASIC tapeouts for high-volume manufacturing. The recently launched EL3CTRUM ASIC by Chain Reaction is described as a “groundbreaking blockchain chip that serves as the foundation for sustainable, high-performance blockchain technologies.”

Alon Webman, CEO of Chain Reaction, explained what the partnership hopes to yield, saying that “Chain Reaction’s bleeding-edge ASICs will enable BIT Mining to build next-gen systems to advance the Bitcoin mining industry towards faster, more power efficient computing.”

“We believe through this collaboration we can leverage our individual strengths to provide the mining community systems that enhance long-term benefits and capabilities,” Xianfeng Yang, CEO of BIT Mining reiterated. “With the crypto mining industry continuing to evolve, BIT Mining looks to develop systems that are more efficient, accessible, and sustainable.”

The systems developed through this collaboration are expected to launch later this year. 

Upstream Data Files Lawsuit Against Crusoe Energy Systems For Bitcoin Mining Operations


Canadian Bitcoin mining corporation Upstream Data Inc. has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Delaware limited liability company Crusoe Energy Systems LLC in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. 

The lawsuit alleges that Crusoe has infringed on Upstream’s patent related to bitcoin mining technology used to convert stranded natural gas into bitcoin. According to the complaint, Upstream holds the patent for a system that powers a blockchain mine at remote oil well sites using stranded gas to generate electricity for cryptocurrency mining. According to the filing, the company has deployed over 350 bitcoin mining systems across the U.S. and Canada, addressing the issue of stranded gas venting and flaring.

Crusoe, which manufactures and operates cryptocurrency mining systems connected to stranded natural gas sources, is accused of competing with Upstream by selling and operating similar systems. The complaint claims that Crusoe’s “Digital Flare Mitigation” systems infringe on Upstream’s patented technology. The lawsuit further alleges that Crusoe was aware of Upstream’s patented technology during the development of its own products. The lawsuit filing highlights instances where Crusoe identified Upstream as a competitor in blog posts and claims made in patent applications.

The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief against Crusoe for patent infringement. Upstream argues that Crusoe’s actions have caused harm to its business by infringing on its patent rights and creating unfair competition in the market.

The case will be heard in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, where Crusoe has regular and established places of business according to the filing. Upstream asserts in the lawsuit that the court has jurisdiction over the case.

Bitcoin Developer Introduces Ark, A Layer 2 Protocol For Fast And Efficient Payments


A Bitcoin developer by the name of Burak recently unveiled Ark, a Layer 2 protocol designed to enable fast and secure transactions. According to a post on the Bitcoin dev mailing list, Ark offers an alternative scaling approach that allows users to send and receive funds without liquidity constraints, making it easier for recipients to get paid without an onboarding setup. Unlike other Layer 2 solutions like Lightning, Ark does not require the opening and closing of channels, reducing the on-chain footprint significantly.

Image source

The protocol operates using virtual UTXOs (vTXOs), which are short-lived notes that expire after four weeks. When a payment is made, existing vTXOs are redeemed, and new ones are created. The anonymity of coin ownership is improved by restricting vTXO values to a range of sats values. Users can acquire vTXOs from others or use a process called lifting, which allows them to lift their on-chain UTXOs off the chain for virtual UTXOs.

The protocol introduces an intermediary called the Ark Service Provider (ASP), which serves as a liquidity provider, CoinJoin coordinator and Lightning service provider. ASPs create rapid, blinded CoinJoin sessions every five seconds, known as pools, which ensure the atomicity of payment schedules. Recipients can claim their funds through a txlock condition that requires the connector outpoint to remain unchanged.

Ark’s integration with the Lightning Network allows users to attach HTLCs (or PTLCs) to a pool transaction, enabling interoperability between the two protocols. Multiple ASPs can be used to pay Lightning invoices from different vTXO sources using multi-part payments. Payments on Ark are credited every five seconds, allowing users to spend their zero-conf vTXOs immediately without waiting for on-chain confirmations.

The developer behind Ark highlighted the protocol’s potential for future extensions and improvements. A hypothetical data manipulation opcode could disincentivize double-spending, and users could forge an ASP’s signature to reclaim their vTXOs in case of a double-spend. Overall, Ark offers a promising solution for efficient and secure off-chain transactions on the Bitcoin network.

For more information on Ark and its technical details, curious users are encouraged to visit https://arkpill.me/deep-dive.

Neutronpay And Pouch.ph Partner To Offer Affordable Remittances For Canada And Vietnam Using Lightning


Neutronpay, a digital payment platform based in Canada, has partnered with Pouch.ph to offer fast and affordable remittance services for Filipinos living in Canada and Vietnam. According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, the partnership aims to provide a secure and cost-effective solution for Filipino expatriates who want to send money to their loved ones in the Philippines. By leveraging Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, the partnership enables the conversion of Canadian dollars or Vietnamese dong into bitcoin, which is then converted into Philippine pesos and transferred directly to the recipient’s bank or mobile money account.

Albert Buu, the founder and CEO of Neutronpay, expressed his excitement about the collaboration, stating, “Our integration with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is a major step forward in improving the lives of our customers, and we look forward to exploring new ways to innovate cross-border payments.”

The demand for remittances to the Philippines has been growing steadily, with personal remittances reaching a record high of $36.14 billion in 2022, according to data from the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Canada accounted for 3.6% of total remittances to the Philippines, highlighting the importance of providing efficient and cost-effective remittance services to the Filipino community in Canada.

Ethan Rose, the CEO of Pouch, emphasized the significance of the partnership in empowering overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to easily send money back home. He stated, “Working with Neutronpay is consistent with our endeavor to empower OFWs to easily send money to their families and loved ones.”

The NeutronPay app is currently available exclusively on Canadian and Vietnamese app stores, while the Pouch.ph app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple Store. This collaboration between Neutronpay and Pouch.ph brings lightning-fast remittance services to Filipinos in Canada and Vietnam, offering a convenient and cost-effective way to support their families and loved ones back home in the Philippines.

The World’s Largest Bitcoin Conference Will Take Place In Nashville For 2024


Disclaimer: The Bitcoin Conference and Bitcoin Magazine are both operated by BTC Inc.

The Bitcoin Conference, the world’s largest and most prestigious gathering of the Bitcoin industry, is set to take place in Nashville, Tennessee, from July 25-27, 2024. The decision to move the conference to Nashville underscores the organizers’ efforts to promote Bitcoin adoption beyond traditional financial centers. With a focus on fostering local adoption, the conference aims to unite thought leaders, industry experts and businesses in exploring the limitless possibilities presented by Bitcoin.

David Bailey, CEO of Bitcoin Magazine, expressed his optimism about Nashville’s potential for Bitcoin growth, stating, “We believe that Nashville possesses the ideal blend of freedom-loving mindset and entrepreneurial spirit that will enable Bitcoin to thrive.” The organizers are actively collaborating with local restaurants and businesses to ensure seamless bitcoin payments, transforming Nashville into a hub of bitcoin acceptance. The initiative seeks to empower both merchants and customers and establish a solid foundation for economic growth.

Mike Germano, President at BTC Inc., highlighted the significance of the conference for Nashville, stating, “We aim to foster a community where Bitcoin payments are widely accepted, unlocking new opportunities and creating a strong foundation for economic growth and preparing the city for bitcoiners to descend next July.” The move has been met with enthusiasm by Bill Hagerty, United States Senator of Tennessee, who welcomed the conference, noting, “I couldn’t be more excited that the 2024 Bitcoin Conference is coming to Nashville Tennessee.”

Beyond the conference sessions, attendees can anticipate networking opportunities, exhibitions showcasing cutting-edge technology and interactive workshops aimed at educating and empowering individuals in the Bitcoin landscape. The inclusive environment fosters collaboration and meaningful connections among beginners and seasoned professionals alike.

Tickets for the conference are now available for purchase on the official conference website, with organizers advising interested individuals and organizations to secure their spots early due to the expected high demand. For sponsorship opportunities, media inquiries, or further information about the Bitcoin Conference, contact media@btcmedia.org.

First RGB-Powered NFT Marketplace Launches At Bitcoin 2023


DIBA, the first Bitcoin NFT marketplace utilizing RGB smart contracts, has officially launched on mainnet. According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, the platform also introduces BitMask, an exclusive Bitcoin-only wallet capable of storing unique digital assets (UDAs) such as music and art. The UDAs will be hosted on high availability storage and cloud services provided by Hut 8, a publicly traded bitcoin miner in North America.

DIBA aims to bring Bitcoin utility to the masses by enabling the exchange of UDAs on a decentralized and censorship-resistant network. Notable bitcoin investors, including Tim Draper of Draper Associates and Bill Tai of ACTAI Unicorn Fund, support the venture. Gideon Nweze, founder and CEO of DIBA, expressed his excitement about the launch, stating, “This marks a major milestone in the transition of the internet onto Bitcoin.”

Tim Draper also commended DIBA’s innovative approach, emphasizing the potential of NFTs on Bitcoin. He said, “What Gideon and the team at DIBA have built is a testament to the potential NFTs on Bitcoin hold in capturing the creative and sovereign spirit of this next generation.”

DIBA’s partnership with Hut 8 is another example of the optimism surrounding Bitcoin and Layer 1 and 2 protocols. Josh Rayner, VP of High Performance Computing at Hut 8, expressed support for the Bitcoin NFT platform, stating, “We are bullish on Bitcoin and the potential of Layer 1 and 2 protocols, and are proud to support DIBA’s Bitcoin NFT platform with high availability storage and cloud services.”

According to the press release, the DIBA marketplace utilizes both the RGB smart contract protocol on Bitcoin, as well as the Lightning Network to maximize the efficiency of the marketplace’s functions.

Strike Expands Global Reach, Introduces USDT Support And Unveils Enhanced App At Bitcoin 2023 Conference


At Bitcoin 2023 in Miami Beach, global bitcoin payments service Strike announced that their service is now available in 65 more countries spread across six continents. This coincides with the introduction of the ability to receive funds in U.S. dollar equivalents, namely USDT. In addition, the app received a major facelift and overhaul that has made the UI cleaner, the UX friendlier and also includes a new logo.

Many of the countries that have been requested by users of Bitcoin Twitter are now able to instantly send and receive money utilizing the Lightning Network. In an interview with Strike’s VP of Product, Manuela Rios, she explained that the app now has an effective reach of 3 billion people.

“With Send Globally, the value prop is that you send dollars and receive as a local currency directly in a bank account on the other side … this one’s different — what we found through user research that people on the other side in jurisdictions with weak currencies would say ‘Hey this experience is amazing, but can I have a dollar equivalent?’”

In regards to purchasing Bitcoin, Rios said that “globally, you don’t see a seamless experience.” So the new Strike app also functions as a Lightning wallet where you can buy and sell bitcoin via dollar equivalent rails.

At his speech at Bitcoin 2023, Strike CEO Jack Mallers explained the wider vision of the updates, saying “We’re delivering a cash balance that the global south can rely on, and an awesome beautiful punk unconventional black and white brand, as the Fed is driving our own banks insolvent.”

He also highlighted the company’s response to feedback, displaying a set of tweets asking for LNURL support, shortly after announcing that the new app has LNURL support — all usernames@strike.me function as a LNURL as of the launch.

“We made a lot of product changes to support what we hope to become an amazing global money app,” Mallers said. “As a company, we know what we’re fighting for, we know who we are, we changed the way we looked, but we never changed the way we felt.”

In addition to the new features and access, the app includes a simplified sign-up process in order to make signing up easier. “The end goal for us is to serve 7-8 billion people, and we’ll be stepping our way to make it to the countries that didn’t make it in this MVP,” Rios explained.

Rios explained the impact of the launch and additional features, saying that “For the Bitcoiners, you can expect a beautiful Lightning wallet and a cost effective way to buy bitcoin, and for the people not yet so familiar with bitcoin, but are familiar with 109% inflation, giving them access to a U.S. dollar equivalent stablecoin is massive — now you can save in something that won’t be so quickly devalued.” 

The World’s Largest Payroll Providers Can Now Use Bitwage To Pay Employees In Bitcoin


Bitwage, a leading provider of Bitcoin payroll and invoicing, has introduced a solution that allows employers to seamlessly connect their payroll providers to Bitwage’s service. This development simplifies and ensures compliance for workers who wish to receive a percentage of their paycheck in Bitcoin, stablecoins or USD. Notably, this solution is compatible with various payroll providers, including ADP, Paychex, Paycom, Gusto, Trinet and many others.

According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, what sets Bitwage apart is its non-custodial experience, ensuring that employees receive their payments directly into the wallet of their choice, maximizing security and minimizing risk.

To implement this solution, companies need to sign up on the Bitwage platform and connect their payroll provider through the Bitwage Automated Connection. From there, Bitwage creates a custom, post-tax benefit on the payroll provider’s portal, allowing employees to opt-in. Employees can then choose the amount they wish to be deducted from their paycheck and distributed through Bitwage.

With each pay cycle, Bitwage automatically generates a payroll for each employee based on their payroll preferences, extracting the necessary data directly from the payroll system. Employees can receive their payments directly into their preferred Bitcoin, crypto or stablecoin wallet or even as their local currency into their bank accounts.

Bitwage’s CEO, Jonathan Chester, emphasized their mission to enable workforces to be paid in their preferred method, whether it’s bitcoin or fiat. “We recognize that crypto can be scary for employers, so to enable this mission, we are building out fully compliant solutions and removing the complexities and custodial risk of crypto from the equation,” Chester said.

Governor Ridwan Kamil And Samson Mow Describe The Future Of Bitcoin In Indonesia At Bitcoin 2023


Governor of the Indonesian Province of West Java, Ridwan Kamil and prominent Bitcoin global advocate and JAN3 CEO Samson Mow, revealed in a fireside chat titled “The Indonesia Bitcoin Mining Campaign” that the government of Indonesia is researching various ways in which bitcoin adoption in the country could benefit its people.

Governor Kamil explained the specific environment that makes Indonesia a potential major player in the bitcoin mining space, saying “[Indonesia has] the second most geothermal potential in the world — more than 800 rivers with hydropower. As bitcoin allows the transformation of energy into money, bitcoin could be transformative for indonesia”

He also explained that the country is already on a steady path towards adoption, with more than 12 million cryptocurrency investors, 70% of which are invested in bitcoin. According to Governor Kamil, this number grows by half a million a year.

In addition, the Governor touched on how bitcoin could bring financial technology to people in his country who currently do not have access to that. “Bitcoin is a solution in my opinion to unbankable parts of my society,” he explained. “40% of my people are unbankable.”

Another topic touched on was the recent introduction of an Omnibus bill that allows for 100% foreign investment into renewable energy projects above 1 MW. This bill could lead to increased investment and attention in the region. “Come to indonesia, lets have this big reserve of renewable energy dedicated to the bitcoin mining business,” Governor Kamil said.

Mow touched on the opportunity at hand for Indonesia, saying that “The first [countries] that adopt bitcoin in a meaningful way will have a big advantage.” Afterwards, Governor Kamil inquired about the way that El Salvador’s bitcoin bonds function. Mow replied that “The bonds can finance the buildout of new energy infrastructure … Indonesia could have a volcano bond too.”

Overall, the talk indicated that Governor Kamil is cautiously optimistic, and that he sees bitcoin as a potential game changer for the economy of his country and the livelihood of his people. As a country with access to major amounts of renewable energy and large portions of the population unbanked, it is seemingly ripe for bitcoin adoption.

“The new generation is buying Bitcoin as a reserve,” Governor Kamil concluded. “Hopefully Indonesia will be a Bitcoin heaven in the future.”

IBEX Mercado Announces Partnership With Grupo Salinas Bringing Lightning Access To Millions Of Mexican Citizens


IBEX Mercado, a bitcoin Lightning payment service provider, has announced a new partnership with Grupo Salinas, one of the largest corporate conglomerates in Mexico.

“Over four million Mexicans can now pay with bitcoin for their cable, internet, and phone service,” IBEX’s CEO Jose Lemus said on stage as he announced the partnership. “With this partnership, we’re opening the doors to every bitcoin and Lightning company and financial tech company that wants to leverage Lightning technology … [we will be] rolling out new technology with Grupo Salinas that will enable mexicans to pay their groceries with bitcoin, electronics and to receive remittances.” Lemus explained his excitement about the announcement, saying that this is the “tip of the iceberg of what will go on in Mexico.”

The collaboration signifies a major step in Mexico’s adoption of bitcoin and Lightning. In addition, the integration of Lightning payments via IBEX with Total Play opens up new possibilities for fast and efficient transactions for Total Play customers.

“The true value of this technology is not about paying for a cup of coffee in a different way,” Lemus said. “In a world where we’re going to have increasing digitization of our products and services, we need better payment technology … we did not have a good enough payments technology — but now we do, with Lightning.”

Integration of bitcoin Lightning in Grupo Salinas’ products and services via IBEX can place Mexico at the forefront of the digital revolution, providing citizens with a secure, modern and efficient payment option.

MicroBT Releases New Line Of WhatsMiner M50 Series At Bitcoin 2023


MicroBT, the Bitcoin ASIC manufacturer behind the WhatsMiner line of ASIC mining machines, unveiled its latest offerings at Bitcoin 2023 in Miami Beach. Dr. Zuoxing Yang, the founder and CEO of MicroBT, highlighted the importance of “High density, low noise, low failure rate and low maintenance” ASIC machines bringing bitcoin mining to a new era.

The talk started with a roll of film focusing on the energy crisis, green energy and the role that bitcoin can play as a solution. It then posed the question: “What matters more, mining or surviving?”

“I never stop thinking of better power solutions for bitcoin mining,” Dr. Yang said.

MicroBT introduced three new models of the WhatsMiner M50 series: the air-cooled M50S++, the hydro-cooled M53S++, and the immersion cooled M56S++. These models offer impressive computing power ranging from 150 to 320 terahash/second (TH/s) respectively, with power efficiencies of 22 joules per terahash (J/TH).

Dr. Yang highlighted the heat collection capabilities of the mining rigs, which can be utilized for various purposes, such as space heating and industrial processes. He mentioned that the hydro-cooling mining rigs can reach outlet water temperatures of over 70℃ (158℉), enabling 2.4MW of power for a 40-foot container. Additionally, the immersion-cooling solution requires only 10L of oil per miner, demonstrating its efficiency.

He emphasized that “every M56 miner only requires as low as 10L oil with our specified tank.”

MicroBT’s focus since its inception in 2016 has been the development of high-efficiency Bitcoin mining rigs. The company aims to support miners in adhering to Bitcoin’s decentralization principles while prioritizing network stability. Dr. Yang emphasized MicroBT’s commitment to working with partners to promote sustainable mining practices, zero-carbon emissions and social responsibility.

BitMEX To Send Physical Bitcoin To The Moon In Partnership With Astrobiotic Technology And Bitcoin Magazine


BitMEX, a leading bitcoin derivatives exchange, has announced that it will be sending the first physical bitcoin to the Moon in partnership with Astrobotic Technology Inc. and Bitcoin Magazine. The rocket carrying a physical Bitcoin wallet is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center this summer, marking a significant milestone for both space exploration and the bitcoin industry.

The bitcoin, engraved with a public address and private key, is loaded with 1 BTC and will become the first-ever financial asset sent to space. This endeavor symbolizes the exploration of Bitcoin’s use cases beyond Earth and opens up possibilities for future interaction with the token. Stephan Lutz, Acting CEO and Group CFO at BitMEX, expressed pride in the achievement, stating, “This is not just an achievement for BitMEX, but a breakthrough in human history.”

According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, the mission has undergone rigorous testing and preparation to ensure the Bitcoin wallet’s readiness for space flight.

In addition to the physical bitcoin, the text of the Genesis Block, the first block of Bitcoin ever mined, will be carried to the Moon as a homage to Satoshi’s protocol. The Genesis Block will be displayed on a metal plate with raw hex data and a hologram of the Bitcoin Magazine logo.

Lava Introduces Self-Custody Wallet And Bitcoin DeFi Platform At Bitcoin 2023


Lava, a financial technology company, has unveiled a new self-custody wallet and decentralized finance (DeFi) platform on Bitcoin. Utilizing Lava’s loan protocol, users can borrow stablecoins against native bitcoin, eliminating the risks associated with bridge hacks and custodian rehypothecation.

CEO Shehzan Maredia highlighted the advantages of Lava’s borrowing mechanism, stating, “With Lava, people can borrow transparently without rehypothecation risk and without relying on bridges or custodians. Users won’t have to trust their counterparty and can borrow using a system that gives users cryptographic assurance that the rules of their contracts will be honored.” Lava achieves this through invisible smart contracts called discreet log contracts (DLCs), which ensure collateral integrity and enable programmable loan initiation and repayment without the need for intermediaries.

According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, Lava wallet aims to empower individuals who face challenges with traditional banking, offering innovative security solutions and safety checks to prevent transaction errors. Maredia said that he envisions bitcoin and dollars as the two most crucial assets of the coming decade. Lava’s goal, the press release stated, is to create a bitcoin and dollar-centric financial experience that grants users true financial freedom, enabling them to take control of their finances and simplify money management.

In an interview, Maredia expressed gratitude to his cofounder, team, investors, and supporters, emphasizing that this is only the beginning for Lava. The company said it intends to continue advancing its mission of making finance sovereign and simple.

Lava’s self-custody wallet is currently available on mobile platforms, including iOS and Android, with plans for additional interfaces in the future.

The company said it intends to differentiate itself from other self-custody wallets through its user-centered financial utility experience including offering borrowing against bitcoin, direct purchases of bitcoin and stablecoins, seamless bank account transfers and simplified transactions. Security is a top priority — Lava stated that there will be future enhancements like collaborative custody and cold wallet integration.

Disclosure: Lava is a portfolio company of BTC Inc., the parent company of Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Lightning Company Lightspark Introduces Lightspark Wallet SDK


Lightspark has announced the launch of the Lightspark Wallet SDK, a tool designed to enable businesses of all sizes the ability to offer their customers a Lightning wallet. According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, Lightspark aims to make the Lightning Network more accessible and mainstream, ensuring that payments are open, secure and instant.

The press release explained that the Lightspark Wallet SDK is the result of careful consideration of businesses’ needs and feedback from customers. The SDK is tailored for seamless usage by businesses of all sizes and stages, the company stated, with easy integration and the ability to add unique UI and brand identity. It aims to simplify the complexity of Lightning payments, allowing businesses to focus on building exceptional user experiences without worrying about technical intricacies such as setting up channels and rebalancing liquidity.

The SDK also incorporates Lightspark Predict, which offers low latency, high payment success rates, and low costs, ensuring reliable and capital-efficient Lightning payments, according to the press release. By leveraging Lightspark Predict, the release explained, businesses gain better connectivity to the wider Lightning Network, enhancing reliability and certainty when sending and receiving Lightning payments.

Also highlighted by the company, were recent partnerships which proved the growing adoption of Lightning amongst businesses. Xapo Bank became the first bank to integrate with the Lightning Network via Lightspark, allowing its members to pay for small purchases with bitcoin directly, without converting to USD first.

In addition, Lightspark highlighted partnerships with Rain, the largest crypto-asset platform in the MENA region, which is enabling its users to execute real-time bitcoin transactions using Lightspark, and Flexa, a digital commerce integration provider that has leveraged Lightspark “to help businesses navigate to the next era of commerce.”

Foundation Devices Announces Standalone Envoy Bitcoin Mobile Wallet App


Foundation Devices, a leader in Bitcoin-centric tools, has announced the launch of its Envoy mobile app as a standalone Bitcoin mobile wallet with enhanced features for account management and privacy.

According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, this update is part of Foundation’s mission to make digital sovereignty more accessible and to lower the barriers to bitcoin self-custody. The new Envoy app introduces what Foundation is calling “Envoy Magic Backups,” a simplified setup and backup process for mobile wallets. The press release described how users can now start using the wallet in just 60 seconds without seed words and easily restore their wallet on any device with a few taps.

Zach Herbert, Co-Founder and CEO of Foundation, expressed his excitement about the update, stating, “With this update, we are excited to bring our best-in-class design, intuitive and approachable user experience, and peace of mind to smartphone users across the globe — no Passport required.”

In addition to the introduction of the Envoy app, Foundation has also announced a price reduction for its Passport hardware wallet, now priced at $199. Customers who ordered within the last 90 days are eligible to claim a $50 gift card for the Foundation store.

Alongside this, Foundation released a major update to the Passport hardware wallet, introducing the Key Manager extension that enables powerful new tools such as child seeds and Nostr keys.

Herbert emphasized Foundation’s commitment to accessibility, stating, “Foundation is committed to making Bitcoin and decentralized technologies accessible to everyone. These updates mark significant advancements in our mission to empower individuals to reclaim their digital sovereignty.”

Relai Introduces Monthly Zero-Fee Bitcoin Purchases


Relai, a Swiss non-custodial Bitcoin app, has announced the launch of zero-fee bitcoin purchases in order to attract more users. 

This new offering allows users to make one fee-free bitcoin purchase per month for up to 100 CHF/EUR. By offering a zero-fee purchase option to its user base of over 70,000 individuals, Relai hopes to encourage more individuals to explore the benefits of owning bitcoin and participating in the digital economy.

Julian Liniger, Relai CEO and co-founder, expressed his excitement about the new offering in a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, stating, “We are thrilled to offer our users the zero fee purchase option. It’s a testament to our commitment to simplifying Bitcoin investments and making it accessible to everyone.” He further emphasized the importance of providing fair and secure access to bitcoin, calling it the “best savings technology ever invented.”

In addition to the zero-fee trading launch, Relai explained that it recently made improvements to its user interface, making it even easier for users to onboard and use core functions like buying and selling. The press release states that these efforts have contributed to the company’s success, with March 2023 being its best month to date according to the company. Relai reported a 215% year-on-year revenue growth since March 2022, along with a 53% increase compared to February 2023.

Relai recently announced an investment of $4.5 million, led by Jeff Booth’s ego death capital. The company has reiterated its plans for the future, including Lightning integration and the launch of a white-label product.

Bitcoin Financial Services Provider River Announces $35 Million Series B Fundraising Round


Bitcoin technology and financial services company, River, has announced a successful $35 million equity round in its Series B fundraising effort. Led by Kingsway Capital, the round also saw participation from notable investors such as Peter Thiel, Cygni, Goldcrest and Valor Equity Partners. The company provides a range of Bitcoin services, including zero-fee recurring orders, full-reserve custody, mining and a Bitcoin wallet that supports both on-chain and Lightning Network transactions.

Alex Leishman, the CEO of River, highlighted the growing interest in Bitcoin driven by business and institutional adoption. He emphasized the importance of Bitcoin as a secure path to a stronger and more transparent global economy, especially in light of recent bank failures and bailouts. Leishman stated, “Adopting Bitcoin with a trusted partner is no longer the speculative choice, but rather the prudent one.”

According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, River has experienced significant growth in demand for its enterprise Lightning API, River Lightning. This API enables companies to integrate with the Lightning Network and facilitate instant Bitcoin payments. Notably, El Salvador’s Chivo wallet relies on River Lightning for Lightning transactions. The surge in demand for Lightning transactions, driven by rising on-chain fees, has prompted River to expand its B2B River Lightning segment.

Leishman emphasized River’s commitment to responsible and reliable practices, setting the company apart from others in the crypto industry. He noted, “We have not taken shortcuts or reckless risks with our regulatory strategy and product offering. We’re a mission-driven company with full-reserve Bitcoin custody, and will continue to play our part in moving society towards a brighter economic future powered by Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin Argentina Launches Introduction To Lightning Network Course


Bitcoin Argentina, an NGO focused on promoting Bitcoin, is offering a virtual training course called “Introduction to Lightning Network.”

According to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, the course aims to educate participants on the operation and development possibilities of the Layer 2 solution that operates on top of the Bitcoin network.

Jimena Vallone, the executive director of Bitcoin Argentina, stated, “With the Bitcoin Argentina NGO, we want to bring about knowledge about this technology and generate practical and theoretical spaces that allow professionals, specialists, users and interested parties to explore its uses and potential.”

The course, starting on May 23, will be taught by prominent specialists in the field, including Nicolás Bourbon, Francisco Calderon, Federico Andragnes and members of Librería de Satoshi, Laura Medina and Gustavo Torres. The curriculum will cover introductory aspects of Bitcoin, the mining process, the structure and operation of the Lightning Network, the technological implications for network growth, digital wallets, transactions and fraud prevention.

Bitcoin Argentina has previously organized the Lightning Hackday in Buenos Aires, which received a positive response from participants. Vallone expressed the organization’s motivation behind the training course, saying, “We want to provide the necessary tools so that more and more people can learn about the potential of decentralized technologies and the financial innovation that began with Bitcoin in 2009.”

Interested individuals can register for the course directly or via the NGO’s website, with limited spots available. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance upon completion of the program.

Fold Bitcoin Rewards App Announces Expansion Into El Salvador, Spearheading Latin American Operations


Bitcoin rewards company Fold has announced its expansion into El Salvador, establishing a new office that will serve as its base for operations in Latin America. Fold, known for introducing the world’s first bitcoin rewards Visa Debit Card to the U.S. market in 2020, aims to make bitcoin accessible and easy for users worldwide.

Fold CEO Will Reeves expressed enthusiasm about the move in a press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine, stating, “As a country that has embraced bitcoin and has been a pioneer in adopting new monetary technology, we believe that El Salvador is the perfect place for Fold to expand its presence in Latin America.” Reeves sees El Salvador as an ideal location due to the country’s positive stance on bitcoin and its efforts to build new capital markets.

According to the release, Fold’s expansion will bring valuable solutions to consumers and businesses in the region through its rewards program and embedded bitcoin infrastructure. The company stated its plans to announce partnerships with major players in Latin America soon. According to the release, to date, Fold’s bitcoin rewards infrastructure has processed over $1 billion in volume, highlighting its growing success and impact.

Stacy Herbert, from the National Bitcoin Office of El Salvador, expressed excitement about Fold’s arrival, stating, “Fold certainly fits that description and we are excited to welcome them to Bitcoin Country.” Fold’s expansion into El Salvador marks a significant milestone for the company as it continues to foster a global bitcoin community.

The new office in El Salvador and the local team will enable Fold to provide personalized support to its Latin American users and partners. The Fold mobile app is available for download on Android and iOS devices.

For more information on Fold’s expansion and upcoming partnerships, the company encouraged users to visit their website at www.foldapp.com

U.S. Senators Introduce Bill Requiring Reports On El Salvador’s Bitcoin Adoption


A group of United States senators have introduced a bill requiring reports on the adoption of bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador. 

The “Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador Act,” introduced by Senator James Risch, Senator Bob Menendez, and Senator Bill Cassidy, requires the Secretary of State, in coordination with other relevant Federal departments and agencies, to submit a report on the adoption of bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador. The report must include an assessment of the regulatory framework in El Salvador and the potential impact of Bitcoin adoption on macroeconomic stability, democratic governance, and the flow of remittances from the United States to El Salvador.

The bill also calls for a plan to mitigate any potential risks to the United States financial system posed by the adoption of a cryptocurrency as legal tender in El Salvador and any other country that uses the U.S. dollar as legal tender. According to the bill, the plan should be submitted to the appropriate committees of Congress no later than 90 days after the report required by subsection (a).

The Bitcoin Law, passed by the Salvadoran government in June 2021, gives Bitcoin legal tender status in the country. The move was criticized by some experts, who argued that it could lead to instability in the country’s economy. Others, however, saw the move as a potential catalyst for broader adoption of bitcoin in the region. Despite the controversy surrounding the move, El Salvador has remained committed to its Bitcoin adoption plans.

U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman Sends Letter To SEC Chair Calling Attention To Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Situation


U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman has sent a letter to Gary Gensler, Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), regarding the situation of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).

According to Sherman, as many as 850,000 retail investors, including some who used individual retirement account funds, are currently trapped in their GBTC investments due to the actions of GBTC and its parent company, Digital Currency Group (DCG). Sherman estimates that these investors’ retirement security and in some cases, their life savings, may be at risk and that if the situation is not remedied, they could lose tens of billions of dollars of their savings.

Sherman’s concerns regarding GBTC stem from the fact that GBTC shares currently trade at a ~42% discount to the bitcoins in the trust, and Grayscale has refused to redeem GBTC shares, citing Regulation M’s prohibition on simultaneous sales and redemptions of the same security. Grayscale’s Head of Investor Relations, Rayhanch Sharif-Askary, admitted that the company’s flooding of the market with GBTC by continuously issuing new shares between 2018 and 2021 drove the discount to its net asset value.

Sherman alleges that Grayscale’s actions are motivated by a desire to increase assets under management, regardless of the impact on GBTC’s retail investors. Grayscale charges users an annual 2% fee based on the actual value of bitcoin, not the value of the GBTC that investors own. By charging more than four times what their competitors charge, Grayscale was able to bring in $615 million in fees alone in 2021, according to the letter.

Sherman has posed several questions to the SEC related to this matter, including whether Regulation M is a barrier to allowing shareholder redemptions today, whether the SEC is aware of other specific rules and regulations that are a barrier to allowing shareholder redemptions today, and whether it is a matter of concern that Grayscale does not have a single independent director on either its board of directors or audit committee.

In conclusion, Congressman Brad Sherman’s letter to the SEC Chair, Gary Gensler, is raising concerns over the situation of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). Sherman is worried that as many as 850,000 retail investors could lose their retirement security and savings, as they are currently trapped in their GBTC investment due to the actions of GBTC and its parent company, Digital Currency Group. At Bitcoin 2023 in Miami, there will be a shareholders meetup to discuss the next steps that concerned shareholders can take. This aims to be the largest gathering of shareholders since the beginning of the Trust, with more than 30% of shareholders expected to attend.

SEC Slammed By U.S. Chamber Of Commerce For Regulatory Approach To Cryptocurrencies In Coinbase Filing


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is facing criticism from the United States Chamber of Commerce over its lack of clarity regarding which digital assets are securities under federal law. This issue has “immense implications for every person involved in the $1 trillion digital-asset economy,” a court filing by the Chamber states.

According to the filing, the SEC has refused to engage in any systematic process or rulemaking to explain what its claimed authority means, instead offering one-off enforcement actions and public speeches. This has created regulatory uncertainty and destabilized the regulatory environment for digital assets.

In July 2022, Coinbase petitioned the SEC to initiate a rulemaking regarding digital-asset securities. It urged the Commission to answer basic questions such as “which digital assets are securities?” More than 1,700 commenters echoed Coinbase’s call, but the SEC expressed no interest in addressing Coinbase’s request, according to the Chamber. Coinbase then pursued a lawsuit against the SEC in order to compel the regulator into action, which is where the filing by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce comes from.

The SEC’s Chairman has asserted that the securities laws are unambiguous as applied to blockchain-based digital assets. Despite constructively denying Coinbase’s petition, the SEC has refused to memorialize its decision in a formal response.

According to the Chamber, the SEC’s lack of clarity has caused economic harm to both Coinbase and the broader business community. The uncertainty deters productive conduct and stifles innovation and undermines broader American economic and strategic interests. Continued uncertainty also has implications for the nation’s geopolitical interests and the continued primacy of the dollar, given the increasing relevance of digital assets to international monetary policy.

The SEC’s refusal to engage in rulemaking or respond to Coinbase’s rulemaking petition has destabilized the regulatory environment for digital assets, the Chamber states.

“Agencies ordinarily provide regulatory clarity by promulgating rules of general applicability,” the filing says. “This preference for rulemaking has important benefits: It forces agencies to put to paper their regulatory plans, and it provides for fixed, prospective effective dates that ensure parties can bring their conduct into conformance with the law rather than be held liable later for violating duties they did not know existed.”

Marathon Digital Holdings Faces Second Subpoena By SEC In Relation To Montana Mining Operation


Marathon Digital Holdings, a public Bitcoin miner, has received another subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding whether there were possible violations of federal securities law in agreements related to a Hardin, Montana data center facility that Marathon built. 

“The Company and certain of its executives received a subpoena to produce documents and communications,” related to the facility in the third quarter of 2021, a quarterly filing by the company stated.

In that agreement, Marathon issued 6,000,000 shares of restricted Common Stock, “in transactions exempt from registration under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933.” However, the company filing revealed that it recently received another subpoena from the SEC on April 10, 2023, “relating to, among other things, transactions with related parties.”

The company says it is cooperating with the investigation. The facility in Montana was designed to have up to 100-megawatts of power, according to the filing.

Marathon’s stock price has been volatile in recent months, reflecting the ups and downs of the bitcoin market, however, the stock has generally followed an upward trend since early 2021, as the value of bitcoin has risen.

$48 Million Bitcoin Prius Set To Appear At Bitcoin 2023


Disclaimer: Bitcoin 2023 and Bitcoin Magazine are both operated by BTC Inc.

The “Bitcoin Car,” a 2013 Toyota Prius that was purchased with 1,000 bitcoin, will be showcased at the upcoming Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami Beach. The event will take place from May 18-20, during which the car will be on display. The auction of the Bitcoin Car, being conducted via Scarce.City, a Bitcoin auction site, began on May 10 and will conclude on May 20. The current owners of the car, Devin Konopa and Austin Craig, will be allowing Bitcoin OGs from all over the United States flocking to Bitcoin 2023 to tag the car before its appearance at the conference.

Image Source

Konopa spoke about the cultural significance of the car, stating that “this Prius represents the growth of public awareness, an acceptance of digital currency, and a significant tipping point in the Bitcoin space.” He also expressed his desire to see the car displayed in a museum one day as a symbol of the rise of Bitcoin.

The Prius has been dubbed the “$48M Prius” by the media and the Bitcoin community due to the historical significance of its peak value, a press release announcing the car’s appearance states. Since its purchase, the car has been to over 30 Bitcoin events according to the announcement, and has transported hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash from early Bitcoin ATMs.

The auction for the First Bitcoin Car is expected to generate a great deal of interest among Bitcoin enthusiasts and collectors at the highly anticipated event in Miami Beach. Those who wish to bid on the car can do so by visiting the FirstBitcoinCar.com website, and those who seek to view the car for themselves can get tickets for Bitcoin 2023 at b.tc/conference.

Declaration Of Monetary Independence To Reappear At Bitcoin 2023


Disclaimer: Bitcoin 2023 and Bitcoin Magazine are both operated by BTC Inc.

The Declaration of Monetary Independence (DoMI), which made an impressive debut at Bitcoin 2022 in Miami Beach, will once again be on display at Bitcoin 2023. The 9-foot by 12-foot document made a massive impact on attendees at the previous conference, with thousands of Bitcoin enthusiasts adding their signatures to the piece of art. DoMI is essentially a 21st-century version of the Declaration of Independence, with 27 reasons listed on why fiat currency is an unfair and broken monetary system controlled by governments that favors the wealthiest and most privileged. The second half of the document lists 29 reasons why Bitcoin is the fairest and most egalitarian monetary system ever conceived and implemented.

At Bitcoin 2022, DoMI was displayed at the entrance of the Nakamoto Stage, where it attracted the attention of everyone who entered. The signing got off to a slow start, but after one of the original authors of the document signed it, hundreds of attendees started to add their own signatures to the piece of art. Over the course of the three-day conference, thousands of people signed the document, making it resemble activist street art upon a replica of the original Declaration of Independence.

As Bitcoin 2023 approaches, Bitcoin enthusiasts are eagerly looking forward to the re-emergence of DoMI. The document will once again be displayed prominently at the conference, this time on a 10-foot by 8-foot document with a “Tick toc next block” background in the Lightning Food Court, reminding everyone of the need to separate money from the state and to promote Bitcoin as the fairest and most egalitarian monetary system. Attendees can expect the same enthusiasm and excitement that characterized the signing of DoMI at the previous conference, with many people eager to add their signatures to this historic document.

DoMI is a reminder that Bitcoin is more than just a digital currency; it represents a fundamental shift in the way we think about money and the role of government in its creation and regulation. As Bitcoin continues to gain wider acceptance and adoption, DoMI will serve as a testament to the power of decentralization and the need for a fairer and more just monetary system.

Bull Bitcoin Launches No-KYC Purchasing Through Canadian Post Office


Canadian Bitcoin exchange, Bull Bitcoin, has launched a new no-KYC (know-your-customer) service which enables users to buy bitcoin with cash or debit card. Users can go to any Canadian Post office, scan the QR code generated on the Bull Bitcoin app, and pay in cash or via debit card.

The funds are automatically added to the user’s Bull Bitcoin account within a few minutes. Transactions of up to ~$745 ($999.99 CAD) can be made per transaction, with no KYC required. The exchange has a fee of 2% for no-KYC sats, the cheapest of any such service in Canada, according to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine, while Bull Bitcoin’s on-chain withdrawals remain free.

Canadian regulations state that Bitcoin exchanges must perform KYC and keep transaction records for all purchases above $1,000 CAD. Bull Bitcoin states that its privacy policy complies with the fair information principles in the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Document Act (PIPEDA), which prevents it from collecting information that is not needed for a legitimate purpose.

With no risk of chargeback for cash and debit card transactions, the company states that it has no legitimate reason to ask for KYC.

Bull Bitcoin aims to offer cash bitcoin purchases due to customer demand, and for those without access to bank accounts. The company also aims to attract migrant workers for remittances and users who want to limit the amount of personal information they give to trusted third parties. In addition, cash and debit card transactions are not subject to fraudulent chargebacks, unlike bank transfers and e-transfers. The process of funding accounts with cash or debit cards is also faster and more convenient.

Human Rights Foundation Grants $455,000 To Bitcoin Projects Worldwide


The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has granted $455,000 to a dozen projects worldwide through its Bitcoin Development Fund. The grants focus on improving Bitcoin scaling, privacy, decentralization, global education, censorship-resistant communication and community-building efforts, with areas of focus including Africa and Asia. The HRF has allocated more than $2.7 million in BTC and USD since early 2020 to over 80 developers, educators and open-source initiatives worldwide according to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine.

One grant recipient is Meron Estefanos, who will use $50,000 to create Bitcoin Innovation Hub Uganda. The hub aims to equip local youth with practical skills to become sovereign individuals and will host local meetups to serve as a Bitcoin awareness and learning center. Ugandans face difficulty receiving remittances due to high fees and obstacles in obtaining ID cards, the press release states.

Calvin Kim has received $100,000 to research and implement a peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol for Utreexo block/transaction messages to prepare Utreexo for a mainnet launch. Utreexo is a Bitcoin scaling solution for faster verification and synchronization of Bitcoin full nodes. The grant will support Kim’s work on improving Bitcoin scaling.

Another recipient is Calle for Cashu, which has received $50,000 for the development of a free and open-source protocol that enables Chaumian ecash on top of Bitcoin. The Cashu protocol conceals user balances and transaction history, offering near-perfect privacy for users of custodial Bitcoin wallets.

0xB10C received $50,000 “for their work on Bitcoin Core Tracepoints, P2P monitoring, fork observer, mining pool observer and Bitcoin data.” In addition, Rootzoll received $50,000 for Raspiblitz, a do-it-yourself lightning node that can be run on a Raspberry Pi.

$25,000 went to BOB Space BKK for their Thailand residency program, while World Liberty Congress received $25,000 for the Freedom Academy.

$25,000 also went to Hampus Sjöberg for Blixt Wallet, a non-custodial open-source Bitcoin and Lightning wallet, and $10,000 will go to Nourou for Bitcoin Sénégal, a group that hosts meetups, creates educational content, and onboards local merchants to Bitcoin.

Charlene Fadirepo got $10,000 for the Bitcoin in Africa Show, providing education, insights and thoughtful conversations “to deepen the understanding of Bitcoin across the African continent,” the press release described. And finally, $10,000 will go to Lorraine Marcel for Bitcoin DADA, a women-centric organization with contributors based in Kenya and beyond that educates African women in the Bitcoin space.

HRF’s Bitcoin Development Fund aims to accelerate the development of privacy-preserving technologies for Bitcoin users and support infrastructure improvements to make Bitcoin more accessible worldwide. The next round of gifts will be announced in August 2023.

Bittrex Inc. Bitcoin And Crypto Exchange Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy


Bittrex, a bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange platform founded in 2014, has filed for bankruptcy in the state of Delaware. The decision comes after the company previously announced that it would be ceasing all operations in the U.S. effective April 30th as a result of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges against the firm and its former CEO for operating an unregistered exchange, broker, and clearing agency. However, this announcement does not impact Bittrex Global, according to a statement released by the company, which will continue its operations as usual for customers outside of the U.S.

For customers who did not withdraw their funds from the platform prior to the end of April, the company has stated that their funds remain “safe and secure.” While the Bankruptcy Court will ultimately decide the method by which those funds can be claimed by and distributed to customers, the company stated its intentions to activate those accounts as soon as possible so that customers who meet the necessary regulatory requirements can withdraw their funds.

Bittrex has also retained Omni Agent Solutions to provide email and website updates to customers. The company has encouraged affected customers to visit their website during this process, as they will provide additional information as it becomes available, and customers will also receive information directly from the bankruptcy court.

In the released statement, the company said, “Our main priority is to ensure that our customers are made whole. We are committed to working through the bankruptcy process in a way that is transparent and compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience during this time.”

High Bitcoin Fees From BRC-20 And Ordinals Lead To Controversy And Challenges


The fees collected in a single block of Bitcoin transactions have surpassed the block reward, a testament to the growing demand for block space as a result of Ordinals and BRC-20. Given that this is the first time this has happened without the price of bitcoin being in a significant bull market, it is a milestone in the evolution of Bitcoin, as it reinforces the growing potential for transaction fees to sustain the network’s operations.

According to Dustin Trammell, CEO of Trammell Venture Partners, the first time that the fees in a block surpassed the block reward was in block 500,521 in 2017.

The rise in transaction fees can be attributed to the introduction of Ordinals and BRC-20. Inscriptions, sets of data inscribed utilizing the Ordinals protocol, already pumped up the fee market and began impacting mempools within the last couple of months. But BRC-20, a recently-introduced token standard which allows tokens to be tied to the Bitcoin blockchain, has created an economic incentive with minting, most often done on the smallest UTXO size possible, leading to the recent competition for block space.

This has led users to pay higher and higher fees to ensure that their transactions are processed faster, as miners naturally prioritize bitcoin transactions with higher fees to maximize their profits.

On top of that, the recent rise in Bitcoin’s price has also contributed to an increase (although small) in transaction fees, as users are willing to pay more to move their bitcoin holdings around. The combination of these factors has resulted in a significant increase in the revenue earned by miners from transaction fees, which is now exceeding the fixed block reward in certain blocks.

Source: mempool.space

The increase in fees has had a measurable impact on businesses that utilize both on-chain bitcoin and Lightning. Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has had to halt and restart bitcoin withdrawals twice, claiming network congestion was the reason. As a result, the firm has stated that it is looking into integrating Lightning in order to better facilitate small withdrawals during high fee environments. Francis Pouliot, CEO of Bull Bitcoin, a Canadian, bitcoin-only non-custodial exchange, took to Twitter, saying “I think it’s important for bitcoiners to know how increased fees w/o increased tx volume and price pumps affect business like ours.” 

It’s not just businesses, either — citizens in countries that rely on bitcoin are seeing difficulties, as the fees for on-chain transactions are significant sums of money for many — and Lightning is not always available yet.

Bitcoin’s security market has long been a center of debate, as, save for price bull runs, block space has largely remained cheap since Bitcoin’s inception.

While the fixed block reward is set to decrease over time, the rise in transaction fees can offset this reduction and ensure that miners continue to be incentivized to process Bitcoin transactions. But many individuals on Bitcoin Twitter seemingly disagree with Ordinals and BRC-20 fulfilling Bitcoin’s fee market security role, calling the flood of transactions a “DoS attack.”

Anita Posch, a Bitcoiner focused on global adoption, also highlighted challenges with adoption on Twitter, asking, “Can anyone explain how I’m going to onboard people with these fees? Can’t use on-chain, can’t open channels. Makes custodial Lightning the only option.”

Others are quick to remind their fellow Bitcoiners that this phenomenon is not something that can be easily reversed, and was eventually inevitable — the increase in fees is a major incentive for miners to continue facilitating the transactions that cause it.

“BRC-20’s purpose so far has been the highlighting of certain friction points within the Bitcoin community and sparking a very necessary debate about immutability, censorship and what Bitcoin is and is supposed to be.” AngelBlock CEO Alex Strzesniewski said in regards to the controversy. “A debate that is long overdue.”

While the debate continues, the free market and built-in incentives of Bitcoin will resolve the situation in whichever way the network finds most valuable.