The state of the Bitcoin Lightning Network in 2023

The Lightning Network, a layer-2 payment solution built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, is six years old. 

Products, users and the amount of Bitcoin (BTC) sent on the Lightning Network (LN) has sky-rocketed in 2023, despite the price per Bitcoin slipping under $20,000.

Source: Twitter/Kerooke

The LN has benefited from the integration into the Nostr protocol — in which users can send one another satoshis (small amounts of Bitcoin) — and the proliferation of custodial and noncustodial LN wallets, and its formal integration in territories such as El Salvador and Lugano.

From Mediterranean cities to Senegal, the LN is also growing as a peer-to-peer means of payment. Nonetheless, despite its growth, concerns still stymie the network, according to key opinion leaders interviewed during Advancing Bitcoin Developer Conference in London.

Eric Sirion, co-founder of Bitcoin mobile app Fedi and maintainer of the Fedimint protocol, explained that running a Lightning node in 2023 is still difficult and that some people don’t bother when faced with the complexity:

“To keep your own Lightning node running, to keep well connected, like keep your connections up to date with the nodes that are relevant — it’s a part-time job essentially.”

Matthias Koller, co-founder of Swiss company Pocket Bitcoin, said, “It has become substantially easier compared to early 2018. However, it is still not ‘easy’ for the masses.”

“But it’s exciting to see the development around full node implementations and the progress that’s been made.”

Sirion, who wrote the open-source code Fedimint and now works on the Fedi team, explained that custodial Lightning wallets, such as Wallet of Satoshi, are popular among Bitcoin advocates. He’s right: It is the wallet of choice for Nostr, a space dominated by Bitcoiners.

However, the reliance on custodial wallets could be a problem for the LN. Trusting a third party with funds, such as Wallet of Satoshi, is contrary to the Bitcoiner mantra, “not your keys, not your coins,” Sirion said.

Furthermore, Koller explained that the reason many Bitcoiners end up sidestepping the “not your keys, not your coins” mantra is that some of the custodial solutions are just so easy. “It’s set up in seconds, ready to transact,” he said, noting:

“But in fact, it’s no different from keeping Bitcoin on an exchange — it’s not your Bitcoin. It’s risky if people aren’t aware of the risks involved and the amounts kept in custodial wallets grow in size.”

However, Koller conceded that custodial solutions are fine for “pocket money.” The LN is ideal for micropayments, but even so, trusting centralized wallet providers could erode privacy. In response to the rise in custodial wallets, one Twitter user explained, “If payments are being made from custodial mobile wallets to custodial mobile wallets it’s very simple to link senders and receivers.” 

Sirion hopes that the rollout of Fedi will undermine the reliance on third parties and provide a straightforward and privacy-centric route to using Bitcoin and Lightning. Fedi uses the open-source protocol Fedimint in which trusted members of a community share ownership of Bitcoin:

“If you’re already using custodial service, at least use one where you have a reason to trust the people that are.”

Moreover, the reliance on Lightning custodial wallets could be in part due to the difficulties in running a Lightning node. Node software businesses, such as Amboss and Umbrel, attempt to remedy the issue with improved UX, but in comparison to downloading Bitcoin Core to run a Bitcoin node, there are more steps, and a deeper understanding of Bitcoin is required to run a Lightning node.

Furthermore, in the world of Venmo, Revolut and other near-instant centralized payment services, there’s a risk that Lightning’s free and frictionless payments do not necessarily solve a pressing problem. During Advancing Bitcoin, Alex Leishman, CEO of Bitcoin firm River Financial, told Cointelegraph, “Bitcoiners use Lightning mostly because it’s interesting and it’s cool. It’s not solving deep problems in their life.”

Related: Bitcoin Lightning Network growth is organic, coming from real-world adoption

Koller joked that the LN is “Bitcoin on steroids. Fast, cheap and perfect for small, daily transactions.” Plus, it’s still substantially more private than Google Pay or using Visa or Mastercard at a checkout:

“The pain I feel every time I have to use a credit card online is just gut-wrenching. Give me Lightning everywhere!”

Leishman would like to see more people working backward from real human problems observed worldwide and see where Lightning can fit in. For example, in the West, the LN could resolve inter-institutional transactions.

“It can really move the needle on a number of things in the West and in the developing world.”

In El Salvador, some Salvadorans use the Lightning Network, but cash is still king. Leishman mentions the Taro protocol, which, once implemented, could allow for assets to be issued on the Bitcoin blockchain.

“Do people actually just want dollars? And does that mean we want to try to build stablecoins on Lightning with Taro?” he said.

Taro Diagram. Source: River Financial

These assets could be deposited into Lightning Network payment channels and transacted instantly. In theory, LN users could hold several balances in their wallets, including different stablecoins or dollars.

Currently, developers can mint, send and receive Taro assets on the test network of the Bitcoin blockchain. In the meantime, LN developers will continue to seek out more user-centric Bitcoin solutions.

Tattooing Bitcoin: Advocates wear cryptocurrency on their sleeve

Got Bitcoin ink? Many Bitcoin believers do. But what are the risks? What about privacy? And what happens if — one fateful day — Bitcoin crashes and burns to zero?

Cointelegraph spoke with Bitcoin (BTC) advocates to understand why they have permanently etched a Bitcoin logo, motif, equation or slogan onto their skin. They’ve shown permanent solidarity with the decentralized movement, expressing their support for the Bitcoin protocol and the values it represents.

Taihuttu’s Bitcoin B tatto. Source Taihuttu.

Didi Taihuttu, father of the “Bitcoin family,” explained that he inked himself the moment he went “all in on Bitcoin as I thought it was a very important step in my life.” A familiar face among the crypto community, Taihuttu sold all of his family’s possessions and slept in a campsite while the price of Bitcoin was in the four-figure territory with the “B” etched on his arm.

He now travels the world evangelizing Bitcoin, with his forearm on full view:

“Bitcoin changed my way of thinking about the world and decentralizing it.”

Anita Posch, another globetrotting Bitcoin evangelist, has a lightning bolt tattooed on her forearm. In the Human B Bitcoin documentary film, she said she wouldn’t explain that the lightning bolt symbol (a nod to the Lightning Network) on her wrist is Bitcoin-related but added “Bitcoin is my life” in follow-up comments.

TatumTurnUp and Erik Dale have the Bitcoin supply formula on their skin. Source: Tatum

TatumTurnUP (not his real name), the host of the Bitcoin show “Between Two Asics,” explained that he got his tattoo of the BTC supply formula because “It’s what proves scarcity.”

“Monetary scarcity is something we’ve been deprived of until Bitcoin, and the fact I can write down what proves there will only ever be a certain amount of Bitcoin is a pretty big deal.”

The tattoo on his bicep is a common (but unfortunately not strictly accurate) formula for the supply of Bitcoin. He shared a warning with readers: “The bottom of the Sigma might be the most painful thing I ever experienced. Just a forewarning.”

But what about OpSec?

However, isn’t it risky to advertise one’s love of a digital currency on one’s skin? OpSec, or operational security, is a military term the internet has hijacked. Among the crypto community, it refers to the public sharing of identity or defining features. And a Bitcoin tattoo could put a literal target on one’s back. 

Erik Dale, whose tattoos are pictured in the above tweet, founded Norway’s “Northern Lightning” conference series. Dale told Cointelegraph he was aware of the implications. His tattoos are “Equations, no logos or tribal markers, for OpSec reasons.”

“Insiders should realize what they are, but not casual observers.”

Rikki, of content creators and investigators Bitcoin Explorers, joked, “We are not particularly concerned about bad opsec.” He added another Bitcoin tattoo to his collection during a giveaway in Guatemala. 

Bad OpSec can lead to doxing or the public reveal of people’s personal data. That’s why some Bitcoin advocates mask their online identities, using anonymous profiles on social media. Not so for Rikki and his partner Laura; they have their Bitcoin support on full view.

Rikki and Laura’s tattoos. “Stack Sats” means save Bitcoin. Source: Rikki.

Piero Coen, the co-founder of Guatemala-based Osmo Wallet, told Cointelegraph that Bitcoin is a “counterculture movement, and getting a tattoo related to it is a way to show our commitment to this movement.”

“It’s like a badge of honor, showing that we are part of this group of ‘pirates’ who are challenging the traditional financial system and are convinced we’re going to change the world. “

Besides, for Rikki and Laura, much of their lives already permanently exists on camera. Rikki explained:

“We are Bitcoin content creators, and so we chose to give up our privacy years ago. Besides, there aren’t just the slightly paranoid, scheming, pessimistic, terra plat-prone Bitcoiners — there are also us, the good-looking, nice, fun, cool and sex-loving Bitcoiners!”

Laura put it even more succinctly in a recent tweet: 

For Tatum, another content creator and a recognizable face in the Bitcoin space, “Value is teaching people about Bitcoin and networking through it, so there’s a constant battle with opsec.”

“At the bottom of it, I am comfortable with my own security and what I do and do not share, but ‘WHY I love Bitcoin’ is always going to be shared.”

Tatum walks around Bitcoin conferences wearing a bulletproof vest in a jocular nod to operational security in the Bitcoin space.

Tatum interviewing guests in a security vest at Pacific Bitcoin 2022. Source: Tatum

But what if Bitcoin goes to zero? 

Unlike tweets, open letters or company creation, Bitcoin tattoos are tricky to delete. They require commitment. 

So what happens if the currency goes to zero, like many other failed projects from Terra to Celsius? Tatum explained, well, “sucks for me!”

“After I got it, I jokingly said, ‘Now I really hope it doesn’t go to zero or I’ll look like an idiot.’ But in reality, my tattoo is kind of why it never will go to zero. If one person finds value in Bitcoin, there’s only ever going to be so many. So they will have value.”

Billionaire Mike Novogratz’s tattoo of the failed Terra (LUNA) token is an eternal reminder of the headiness and hedonism accompanying crypto bull runs. The tattoo remains on Novogratz’s arm, while LUNA is worth next to nothing, and its creator, Do Kwon, might be facing jail time. Fortunately, Novogratz says he learned from the experience saying investing “requires humility.“

Dale explained he’s prepared to live with the tattoos on his wrists even if Bitcoin does fail. He’s committed until the very end: “If I’m wrong about this, I want to carry that reminder every day. And if not, I can’t imagine a prouder badge to wear for the rest of my days.” 

Related: Novogratz says LUNA tattoo is a constant reminder investing ‘requires humility’

For Taihuttu, it’s important to zoom out and focus on the bigger picture. Bitcoin is a long-term play:

“I believe that people who have tattoos from dollar signs or other fiat have a bigger chance of going to 0.”

He’s right; famous rappers and celebrities, including singer Kesha and actor Lena Dunham, have been inked with dollar sign tattoos. It’s unlikely that they were asked if the dollar would go to zero prior to sitting in the tattoo artist’s chair.

Kesha’s dollar sign tattoo. Source:

On a sober note, Taihuttu explained that regardless of the Bitcoin movement underway, the large tattoo on his forearm represents “an amazing 10 years of my and my family’s life since 2013, the year that I started mining Bitcoin.” And that’s more than enough reason to get Bitcoin ink.

Bear markets are for filming: the Bitcoin Film Festival in Warsaw

The bear market might rage on, but that won’t stop the Bitcoin (BTC) shooters, creators and filmmakers from producing new content. 

Hosted in the capital of Poland, Warsaw, the first edition of the Bitcoin Film Festival took place in March. The Bitcoin Film Festival brought together Bitcoin advocates and film lovers from across the globe to sit through some of the best-known Bitcoin films and documentaries. 

Hosted in the Kinoteka theater in the iconic Palace of Culture and Science, the Bitcoin Film Festival festival celebrated Bitcoin’s growing global influence while underscoring the thriving cultural movement that underpins the digital network. Some of the talents from the Bitcoin movement’s first film festival, BitFilm in 2015, such as Tomer Kantor, were in attendance–and they continue to shoot Bitcoin-centric films.


Cointelegraph premiered The Bitcoin Farmer, a short documentary about Bitcoin mining using solely renewable energy in Ireland. The film was followed by a panel discussion with Cointelegraph’s director of the video, Jackson Dumont, global reporter Joe Hall, Bitcoin Film Fest co-founder Pierre Corbin, as well as Mark Morton and Vince Giltinan from Scilling Digital Mining.

On stage for the Bitcoin Farmer debrief. From left, Pierre Corbin, Joe Hall, Jackson Dumont, Vince Giltinan and Mark Morton.

Pierre Corbin told Cointelegraph that he and cofounder Tomek Kolodziejczuk put together the Bitcoin Film Festival because it’s a “cool idea” for the community. Although the film fest was a useful means of introducing Polish people to Bitcoin, Pierre explained that Bitcoin “has been very popular here in Poland with Ukrainians coming here because of the war.”

Poland borders Ukraine, and as much as 25% of the immigrant population is Ukrainian. At the onset of the war, Bitcoin donations soared, while Pierre explains that people on the ground used the decentralized tool:

“The human rights foundation helped them [Ukrainians] transfer their wealth into Bitcoin, helping them cross the border here into Poland and then walk them through the process of getting their money back out from Bitcoin ATMs because Poland is the country in Europe with the most Bitcoin ATMs.”

Cofounder Tomek set the ball rolling for the world’s first Bitcoin film festival in November of last year. Tomek was keen to meet Pierre and screen his film, The Great Reset and the Rise of Bitcoin, at a local Bitcoin Meetup. However, the idea snowballed. Their encounter and subsequent meetings led to the showings of Bitcoin movies from around the world in one of Eastern Europe’s most iconic buildings.  

The film festival location. Source: Linkedin

From documentaries shot in El Salvador, such as Bond to Unbind, to a snapshot of the impact of Bitcoin on individuals’ lives in The Human B, the film festival showcased the most recent and notable film production efforts. Pierre explained the selection process:

“If you select the right films that tell the right stories, then bringing people from outside will understand Bitcoin from the angle that we want them to understand.”

A crowdfunding campaign was held through the Bitcoin crowdfunding campaign Geyser Fund, in which The Satoshi Mystery by Remi Baillieux won the community-voting segment. Meanwhile, Pierre raised Sats (the smallest denomination of a Bitcoin) for his second Bitcoin documentary, The Fight for the US Dollar.

Related: Film review: ‘Human B’ shows a personal journey with Bitcoin

The film festival also piggybacked off a Libertarian conference hosted in Warsaw the same weekend. Libertarians, or proponents of minimizing the state’s encroachment on daily life, were some of the earliest adopters of Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Film Festival is investigating whether to change the location for the 2024 installment or to keep the festival in Warsaw. While bear markets are undoubtedly for building, it appears they’re also for filming. 

Magazine: NFT Creator, Sarah Zucker: The Sarah Show’s analog past meets dizzying digital future

MicroStrategy adds another 1,045 Bitcoin to its growing crypto treasury

MicroStrategy, the American business intelligence firm, has just announced its latest acquisition of an additional 1,045 Bitcoin (BTC) for approximately $29.3 million at an average price of $28,016 per BTC. This news was announced in a tweet by Microstrategy’s executive chairman, Michael Saylor, on April 5.

As of April 5, 2023, MicroStrategy holds a total of 140,000 Bitcoin, which were acquired for approximately $4.17 billion at an average price of $29,803 per BTC. This news comes as a significant milestone for the company as it continues to invest in Bitcoin as a reserve asset.

Number 14 on Cointelegraph’s Top 100 in crypto, Saylor has been an outspoken advocate for Bitcoin and has been leading the charge for corporations to adopt the largest cryptocurrency as a strategic asset. Saylor has repeatedly stated that Bitcoin is the most secure and reliable store of value that exists in the market today and that it offers a unique opportunity for businesses to protect their assets from inflation.

Saylor’s MicroStrategy recently repaid its Silvergate loan and bought 6,500 BTC at the end of March. The company’s Bitcoin strategy appears to be a dollar cost averaging but with vast amounts of money. 

Related: Michael Saylor is still on the hook for alleged tax evasion, says MicroStrategy filing

MicroStrategy made its first Bitcoin purchase in August 2020, and since then, the company has been consistently adding to its holdings. The latest purchase brings the total amount of Bitcoin owned by MicroStrategy to over $12.6 billion, which is a testament to the company’s confidence in the long-term potential of the cryptocurrency.

The view from Paris Blockchain Week 2023: Web3 builds while the city burns

Paris Blockchain Week celebrated its fourth edition in spring 2023 against a backdrop of riots, protests and general civil malaise. The builders in the Bitcoin (BTC), crypto, and Web3 spaces were unfazed by protesters chanting and dancing on the doorstep of the conference venue. 

The event took place against the backdrop of ongoing protests in Paris and worsening macroeconomic conditions in France. Many attendees expressed concern about the impact of these factors on the future of the blockchain and crypto industry, particularly in Europe.

Nevertheless, the overall mood at PBW 2023 was optimistic, with many attendees citing the recent surge in Bitcoin’s price as a sign of growing mainstream acceptance of the technology. Plus, as Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger, explained to Cointelegraph: “Bitcoin was designed for this.”

“Bitcoin was designed in reaction to Lehman Brothers in the 2008 crisis. It was designed because you can’t trust central authorities. And it’s designed because it’s clear that central authorities will fail. It’s not a question of if. It’s more a question of when.”

However, as protestors marched to the doorstep of the entrance to the “Les Salles du Carousel,” the crypt of the Louvre in which the event was held, there appeared to be a disconnect or rift between the Web3 space and reality.

Denelle Dixon, CEO of the Stellar Development Foundation, explained that “It is a little bit like we’re not recognizing what’s happening with the builders and what’s happening with the protesters.” Nir Kouris, founder of Creator Nations, told Cointelegraph that the work of Paris Blockchain Week is “super important,” but it’s important to speak to those in the mainstream world:

“We need to not live in a bubble to include, to embrace, to empower all these people from outside. They don’t have a clue about what is blockchain. So our goal is to use different and different terminology so we can include all of them into the conversation.”

Cointelegraph interviewed some of the protesters during the event; very few were aware of crypto, some had not heard the word “Bitcoin” before.

Cointelegraph speaks to protestors in front of the conference venue

The streets of Paris saw fires, trash as well as fire extinguisher liquid–an apocalyptic scene for many of the tourists visiting France–while Parisians were unperturbed, and some called for calm. Gauthier, a Parisian through and through, shrugged his shoulders at the protests. It’s part of French culture to take to the streets, he explained.

Another key theme throughout the event was the risk that Web2 companies, including Google, NasDaq and Facebook and traditional brands such as LVMH and Gucci, could be co-opting the Web3 vision. The headliners at PBW included established brand managers from the likes of Diesel and Fiat. What are established retail brands doing at a crypto conference? Animoca Brands CEO Robby Yung wades in:

“The reason that there is a place for them in Web3 is because brands themselves have power. You know, they resonate with consumers, whether it’s gaming brands or, you know, handbag and and luxury watch brands. Brands have resonance with consumers.”

Web3 provides new ways to innovate, Yung explained. Ryan Nix, Head of Solutions Architecture at Coinbase agreed–to an extent. He explained that Web2 players want to get in on the action, but they must also “Obfuscate difficulty from their users.” Ultimately, Nix continued, to access a greater audience, simplifying the somewhat complicated crypto and blockchain tools could help.

Cointelegraph speaks to Coinbase’ Nix 

An interesting omission for the 2023 iteration was the notable absence of the crypto exchange Binance. In 2022, Binance financed the largest stand at the conference, and the CZ, the CEO of the crypto exchange, hosted a keynote. This year, the world’s largest exchange is caught up in a U.S. lawsuit, while the crypto bear market rages on.

Related: BUSD deposits and withdrawals via OCBS suspended on Binance.US

As the industry continues to evolve, events like the PBW 2023 will play an increasingly important role in bringing together key players and driving innovation. However, the crypto space must begin to address more real-world use cases if it is to reach out to the mainstream and catch the eye of those taking to the streets. 

Decentralize and the week’s Breaking News: SVB, USDC and BTC to 26k

Breaking news and insightful views: Decentralize with Cointelegraph drops a new style of podcast, curated for you by the Cointelegraph news team. 

Decentralize with Cointelegraph, hosted by Global Reporter Joe Hall dissects the crypto market’s breaking–and most impactful news of the past week. From the Silicon Valley Bank fallout to the Consumer Price Index to Bitcoin’s (BTC) brief price pump above $26,000, the period the week commencing March 12 was historic.

Fortunately, experienced analyst and trader Marcel Pechman was on the mic to educate and provide insight to listeners. Pechman told listeners:

“The very moment the issues started to emerge, the FDIC resssured people that they would cover up to $250k, so there was no need to panic.”

The pair dove into the stories surrounding Silicon Valley Bank, whose liquidation spread panic and uncertainty across the trade then crypto markets. The Cointelegraph editorial team has pieced together a play-by-play timeline of the Californian Bank, which was shuttered over the past weekend.

Pechman also shed light on the significance of the event, drawing experience from his native Brazil, which experienced spiralling monetary inflation in the 1980s.

Next, the banking sector cut off was put under the microscope. Pechman and Hall delved into the how’s and why’s of Paxos, Coinbase and even Celsius’ precarious position. The crypto giants were cut off from tradfi banking.

Marcel and Joe speak together

Finally, the pair finished on a lighter tone, attempting to understand–without too much excitement or bias–why the price per token on the Bitcoin protocol had soared over 20% since the start of the week. Pechman explained that it wasn’t due to the most recent CPI print:

I don’t think that the CPI is the cause behind the rally–[…] the headline came at 6% price increase year on year which is substantially above the 2% target by the Federal Reserve.”  

There was also a brief came from Rishi Sunak, the CBDC friendly United Kingdom Prime Minister, as Hall attempted to impersonate one of the wealthiest people in Britain. 

Related: The Agenda podcast chats crypto, media and ethics with Molly Jane Zuckerman

Decentralize with Cointelegraph is part of a new suite of audio offerings. From Hashing it Out, The Agenda to Crypto Trading Secrets to NFT Steez, Cointelegraph is raising its voice after informing, educating and entertaining viewers and readers across the crypto market for a decade.

Why Senegal rejects the CFA and is warming to Bitcoin: video

Cointelegraph goes to Senegal, West Africa. The medium-sized African nation recently hosted a Bitcoin conference (BTC) and more and more merchants and customers are joining the Lightning Network. 

Armed with a camera, a lightning wallet and a microphone, Reporter Joe Hall took to the streets of Senegal to peer under the surface of Bitcoin adoption in the capital city, Dakar.

As the Cointelegraph Youtube video highlights, Senegal has a young, digitally native population and in recent years, its become second nature for people to send money via mobile phones rather than banks.

A mobile money provider called Wave, for example, began in 2017 in Senegal and has since expanded to other countries in West Africa. It now boasts millions of users. 

Much like Bitcoin, the mobile money revolution attempts to bank the unbanked and improve financial conditions for financially underserved populations. Its user experience is quite similar to sending money over Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, in that you scan a QR code or send money to a number, however, mobile money charges anything from 1 to 3% and can take a few minutes to confirm. It’s therefore a useful tool, but too costly for microtransactions.

In the video, Hall sends Bitcoin over the Lightning Network to a manager at Wave, who showed interest and surprise at the Bitcoin Lightning Network’s efficacy. In fact, many Senegalese were interested in receiving, acquiring or learning how to custody Bitcoin.

Speakers at Senegal’s first major Bitcoin conference, DakarBtcDays.

The Dakar Bitcoin Days conference underscored the Senegalese’ interest in learning about and using Bitcoin. Founded by Nourou, Dakar Bitcoin Days is part of Bitcoin Sen, another pocket of budding Bitcoin activity in West Africa.

However, the overarching reason which could lead to greater Bitcoin adoption in Senegal is breaking the monetary chains of its colonial past.

Related: ‘We don’t like our money’: The story of the CFA and Bitcoin in Africa

In 1994, the value of the local currency, the CFA was sliced in half by a combination of efforts from France, the IMF and the World Bank. Senegalese fiat savings were decimated.

The scars of this monetary collapse and its residual regime remain in west africa and Senegal. The CFA money is not sovereign and it disempowers and disenfranchises people.

That’s why people are looking for alternatives, and some are turning to Bitcoin.

Bitcoin thought leaders weigh the pros and cons of Ordinals

Ordinals are here to stay. Ordinals, or the ability to permanently ink the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain with data, typically in the format of a picture or jpeg, are a controversial topic among some members of the Bitcoin and wider crypto community. Not so for the builders and the CEOs of Bitcoin-focused companies who were present at the Bitcoin conference, Advancing Bitcoin in London. 

Cointelegraph asked several CEOs, builders and key opinion leaders for their views on ordinals throughout the conference. The overarching sentiment was that of curiosity, indifference or deference.

Alex Leishman, CEO of River, told Cointelegraph that he doesn’t have a stance on ordinals just yet, but has recently been gifted an ordinal.

“In the abstract, the idea of having this sort of like meta-layer on top of Bitcoin that tracks Sats; that has a separate state or mapping onto the blockchain is really fascinating and could potentially be interesting for other things.”

For example, Leishman recently played the vintage computer game Doom on an ordinal. “Someone had embedded doom in JavaScript and in a small web page in an ordinal,” which Leishman loaded up from the blockchain. 

Real gameplay of Doom loaded from an ordinal. Source

Eric Sirion, cofounder and advisor to Fedi, and maintainer of the open source protocol Fedimint told Cointelegraph that he’s also “pretty neutral” on Ordinals. 

“Essentially, we cannot do anything about it in a way that is morally consistent. Like if we try to fight it, what gives us the right to do that? And also, we cannot effectively fight it. […] So yeah, why get worked up about it?”

Sirion added that he’s not necessarily a fan of Ordinals as it might blow up the blockchain a bit, but “Who am I to tell other people what to do with the fees they pay like?”

The Bitcoin blockchain has since “bloated,” reaching an average block size all time high, but fees have remained more or less consistent.

Average Blocksize has soared higher since ordinals. Source:

Benoit Mazouk, CEO of UK based Bitcoin exchange, Bitcoinpoint, shared Sirion’s concerns about blockchain congestion. He explained that while he understands that Bitcoin key opinion leaders, such as CEO of Blocksstream Dr Adam Back, who commented that ordinals are “useless” (insert tweet), for Mazouk, he’s “more into Bitcoin as a currency.” 

Perhaps a greater concern is that users can upload graphic images and offensive data onto the blockchain. Recently, shock porn was uploaded as an Ordinal. 

However, the permanence and censorship resistance works both ways: Leishman states that creating permanent records for potentially important or culturally significant events and dats–such as Doom–can be permanently etched into the blockchain. “Ordinals can eventually become composable and it’s really truly censorship resistant content,” Leishman commented.

Related: Yuga Labs’ first Bitcoin NFT auction nets $16.5M in 24 hours

Christian Keroles, managing director at Bitcoin Magazine, recently posted a culturally topical reference to the censuring of Roahl Dahl books. CK queried where the minting of books on the blockchain would preserve original copies. 

In all, Ordinals are beginning to change the way Bitcoin advocates use and approach Bitcoin. Ordinals offer another use case to the Bitcoin network over its first one: peer-to-peer cash.

“Maybe the Bitcoin database has value for other things, and they’re willing to pay for it, which is good for miners and maybe is what actually.”

Miners have earned more revenue per block since Ordinals’ introduction, while video gaming fans can rest assured that Doom is playable, loaded from the Bitcoin blockchain.

Technical discussions take center stage at Advancing Bitcoin conference in London

The Bitcoin (BTC) bear market builders convened in London, United Kingdom, during the Bitcoin-only conference “Advancing Bitcoin.”

Common Bitcoin conference vernacular, words like “macro,” “shitcoin,” or “debt spiral” were absent from the debate, replaced by computer science terms; words like “OP_return,” “nonce,” and “ordinals” dominated the discussion. The two-day developer conference was technical and thoughtful, a space to get one’s hands dirty writing code.

Fedi’s Leon Johnson organised and kicked off the conference. Source: michaelayophotography79 

Leon Johnson, a conference organizer and the head of operations at Bitcoin company Fedi, told Cointelegraph that the conference is entering its fourth year and the profile of attendees has slowly evolved:

“In 2019, we had a lot of what I would call hobbyists, enthusiasts, tinkerers. And those same people have now kind of progressed to work for Bitcoin companies.”

True to its name, the conference has advanced Bitcoin hobbyists to Bitcoin companies. Gaming company Zebedee, for example, spun up from interactions at Advancing Bitcoin, Johnson explained.

Alex Leishman, CEO of River, a U.S.-based Bitcoin accumulation and Lighting company told Cointelegraph that the event is a high-quality arena for builders:

“It’s nice to be in workshops and presentations that really dig into the weeds and the inner workings of the innovations happening in the space, whether it’s ordinals, lightning network, protocol upgrades, and what those then mean for user experience and for improving the actual products we’re all trying to build.”

True to form, developers and computer scientists pitter-pattered on their keyboards throughout the conference. Attendees as young as ten constructed hardware wallets from scratch, spun up code and interrogated the blockchain and Bitcoin Mempool. An entire day was dedicated solely to workshops.

Cointelegraph’s Joe Hall was conference compère. Source: michaelayophotography79

Echoing comments made by other developers and computer scientists, Johnson highlighted that progress is good, but the layer-2 Lightning Network is still in its infancy and Bitcoin is a teenager at almost 15 years of existence. So what does Bitcoin need to mature?

“Bitcoin needs people. We need more than speculators. We need people that care about applications.”

Eric Sirion, cofounder of Fedi and maintainer of the Fedimint protocol joined in: “Don’t gamble–it’s a bear market and bear markets are for building.” It’s time to “get out there and inspire people, he suggested.

Related: UK is ‘likely’ to need digital currency, says BoE and Treasury: Report

Uncle Rockstar (not his real name), the brains behind some of Bitcoin company Strike’s inner workings that built out the Lightning Network integration with El Salvador’s Chivo wallet, concluded the first day of talks. Rather than delve deeper into technical specifications as with the other talks, Rockstar chose to chide, reassure and motivate developers, particularly those working on free, open-source software (FOSS).

Uncle Rockstar (who chooses to hide his features, gives a talk) Source: Alex Waltz

Bear markets can burn out the best of us, he explained during his talk. “It’s OK to take a break and pick up a fiat job before returning to building.” Leishman agrees:

“I think Bitcoin is going to become the money of the world is going to completely change everything. We can speed that up if we’re smart about how we approach it.”

With the Bitcoin price continuing to wallow in the low 20,000s, the bear market continues to grind on. Advancing Bitcoin recently announced its intention to travel to Málaga with the concept in autumn. The Spain edition focuses o businesses and institutions and will have less of a developer focus.

Most blockchain advocates haven’t even used Bitcoin

Bitcoin (BTC) popularised the term blockchain. Blockchains, or “decentralized and distributed digital ledgers used to record transactions across a network of computers,” have been around for over thirty years, the household name for a blockchain is Bitcoin. 

That’s despite the fact that the Genesis block was mined well over 14 years ago when George W. Bush was president and “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas topped the charts–Bitcoin is still top of the blocks.

It’s to be expected, then, that most blockchain advocates would have used, understood or a the very least experimented with Bitcoin.

Nope. Not so.

Speaking with Victoria Gago, co-founder of the European Blockchain Conference. Source: José Val Bal

Here’s an example. While MC’ing at the European Blockchain Conference in February, I asked the audience for a show of hands. I inquired of the circa 250 blockchain believers sitting in front of me:

“Who here has used Bitcoin?”

Maybe 20 audience hands shot up. “Okay. Keep your hand up if you’ve used Bitcoin’s Lightning Network,” I said. The Lightning Network or (LN) is the payments network built on top of Bitcoin which allows near-instant, near-free transactions. Over half those hands went down.

One data sample is insufficient. So, the following day I quizzed the audience on stage. I was surprised to receive the same result. Four-fifths of the blockchain conference audience had never used Bitcoin.

Why is that? Why is it that so few people have touched arguably the only blockchain that solves what is known as the “scalability trilemma;” that of decentralization, security and scalability?

The Bitcoin blockchain, or timechain as Satoshi Nakamoto called it in the white paper, is still relatively small. Anyone with an old laptop can download the entirety of all transactions in order to run a node; the network can scale to reach millions and soon billions of people with layers, while the Bitcoin blockchain has never been hacked. And yet at the blockchain conference, very few attendees run nodes or have transacted on Bitcoin.

However, there are not enough data points to yet form this conclusion. I wanted to quiz individuals across the conference if they were blockchainers or Bitcoiners–and if so, why is that the case?

I quizzed conference-goers about a simple question. I asked around 15 conference goers to choose Web3 or Web5, and only one person of the fifteen chose Web5. Ironically, the sole Web5 proponent in the interview is Bitcoiner Antonia Roupell, whose job title is “Web3 lead” for Save the Children.

Most respondents looked confused when presented with the choice of webs. “What is Web5?” They queried.

Web3 is a world of reportedly decentralized blockchains in which tokens (and token sales) drive the economy forward; Web5 is the decentralized internet built on Bitcoin. Naturally, Bitcoin maximalist Jack Dorsey champions Web5. 

Dorsey explained in December 2021 that Web5 will allow true ownership of identity and data, unlike Web3. Dorsey explains that “Web3″ has the “Same corporate incentives [as Twitter] but hides it under “decentralization.”

The Twitter founder reckons Web3 will never achieve true decentralization as underneath the marketing spiel and tokenomics it’s the venture capitalists and limited Partners who own the blockchains and the data underpinning the systems.

Web5 already boasts social media applications such as Zion in which users can easily send Bitcoin to one another and own their data, built atop one decentralized blockchain and. Which blockchain? You guessed it, Bitcoin. 


Web3 has existed since Ethereum coder Gavin Wood coined the term in 2014 and thus has more time on its side. Plus it’s a catchy, catch-all term that is often used interchangeably with blockchain, crypto and metaverse. It’s hard to define, underline or frame without referring to financially lucrative projects. 

It finally struck me that the focus of most attendees at the European Blockchain Convention was business over Bitcoin. Or to put it another way–and to attempt to be a little less naive–the attendees wanted to make money over work towards a new monetary policy.

Moderating a panel on Web3 during the conference. Source: José Val Bal

I had the same experience when discussing Nostr, which stands for Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays. The relatively new, decentralized network enables private messaging and uncensorable communication–among other projects. 

One of the applications of Nostr, called iPhone app Damus, helped Nostr reach nearly half a million daily users in mid-February. User count multiplied by 5 since its listing on the Apple iOS store and the protocol is full of Bitcoin advocates.

I asked conference attendees for their public key so I could follow them on Nostr. I was met with bemused looks. The blockchain believers and champions of decentralized protocols had not tested nor heard of Damus.

Nostr explained by

Do you want one more example?

An employee at a popular Bitcoin company–who I won’t dox in this opinion piece–approached me during the conference. “I saw you sending sats to people on stage. You sound like a [Bitcoin] maxi,” he joked. 

“Guilty, officer” I joked. I only hold Bitcoin and am passionate about bringing Bitcoin to the world, especially those living in financially kneecapped countries.

“You would probably recognize the company I represent then. I work for Blockstream.”

Of course! I told him. I actually played Jenga in the park with Blockstream’s CEO, Adam Back, recently. We immediately bonded.

Related: Regulation stole the show at Barcelona’s European Blockchain Convention

The Blockstream employee confided in me that not a single conferencegoer had clocked his employer. Blockstream is a well-known Bitcoin companies. Blockstream pioneers lightning adoption, side chains, affordable hardware wallets and liquid, while Back was one of the few names mentioned in the Bitcoin white paper published in 2008.

He shared his surprise with me, but it was 5pm on the last day of the conference–by this point I understood. “It’s a Bitcoin company, mate” I explained. And after all, “Bitcoin and blockchain don’t really mix.” Bitcoin has a marketing problem, I said.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Bitcoin node connection shuts down: BlueWallet users urged to withdraw funds

BlueWallet is sunsetting its lightning node connection to according to an official statement. BlueWallet will cease custodial Lightning operations–meaning that BlueWallet users of the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network must connect to nodes to continue using BlueWallet lighting services.

Calle, a Lightning Developer who tweeted about the change, told Cointelegraph:

“The most important thing is that people don’t panic and suddenly noobs move out their on-chain funds or wrong lightning balances.”

The Lightning Network is a layer-2 payment solution built upon Bitcoin. The LN is used for sending small amounts of Bitcoin around, called Satoshis or Sats, often using a lightning wallet.

Blue Wallet is a popular LN wallet that has over 42 BTC ($1 million) liquidy and its largest channel has 4 BTC ($95,000) capacity according to data from Amboss. BlueWallet a popular lightning wallet, often recommended by well-known Bitcoiners.

Calle continued; “It’s important to realize that lndhub is a protocol that helps you connect wallets to accounts. The wallet (in this case) is BlueWallet but other wallets also support LndHub (like Alby or Zeus).”

“The account is shutting down, not LndHub or Bluewallet itself. The account here is hosted by the BlueWallet team and they don’t want to do this anymore.”

While users will still be able to withdraw their sats, creating new or refilling existing Lightning wallets on LndHub node will no longer be possible. BlueWallet publicly stated that users with sats connected to BlueWallet’s Lightning node, they should move them as soon as possible.

BlueWallet’s website advises to “keep the amount [of Bitcoin] low” for using the LN, as it’s “experimental.” Source:

The service will be shut down on April 30th, so it is crucial that BlueWallet users move their sats to another service or wallet of their choice. However, regular Bitcoin wallets are not affected by this change.

Related: Bitcoin Lightning Network growth is organic, coming from real-world adoption

While some may view the change as a thorn in the side of LN adoption, it is important to note that BlueWallet will “only support self-custody solutions,” according to the website. The change seeks to promote decentralized solutions and self-custody.

Disclaimer: Cointelegraph reached out to BlueWallet for comment. BlueWallet said to check the blog post on BlueWallet’s website.

Regulation stole the show at Barcelona’s European Blockchain Convention

Some 2,500 crypto-curious blockchain believers descended on Barcelona’s Hyatt Tower conference suites last week in a networking bonanza. The 8th edition of the European Blockchain Convention, and the fourth occurrence in Barcelona, also coincided with Bitcoin (BTC) sitting tight below $25,000.

Despite an over 60% crypto drawdown, the conference was packed, and reportedly 2,500 attendees from banks, blockchain companies and crypto drank in the sights and sounds of the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. Nonetheless, the crypto scars of 2022 are still tender and raw; many attendees raised real concerns about regulation and rules. 

Cointelegraph’s Hall speaks to EBC cofounder Victoria Gago. Source: José Val Bal

Among the clarion calls for regulation were bankers from major European institutions: Santander, HSBC and Société Générale shared stages and rubbed shoulders with crypto natives and blockchain maximalists.

However, contrary to expectation, it was the crypto-native camp that was quick to recognize the issues of 2022 and who was first to call for clearer instruction from regulators.

Stef Wynendaele, a crypto native who heads up commercial strategy for KeyRock, told Cointelegraph that he’s “wildly in love with Bitcoin,” and that “questioning the establishment” is an important tenet to crypto. That said, a collaborative environment between institutions and disruptors may be the most productive path forward:

“Everybody says, ‘We don’t want to talk with the banks, we don’t want to know what they’re doing, etc.’ But they’ve actually been around for 300 or 400 years. They have a lot of experience on how to do things actually, or how not to do things.”

In such an environment, Wynendaele explains it’s no longer a question of “us vs. them,” i.e., crypto vs incumbents, especially as the market will eventually decide the best outcome.

Patrick Heusser, the chief commercial officer at Crypto Finance, echoed his comments. He told Cointelgraph: “I would say it’s not everything that’s been done in traditional finance is wrong. Regulation is not always wrong.”

Heusser during one of the panels at EBC. Source: José Val Bal

Cathy We, Investment Associate at NGC Ventures, offered a contrarian view on regulation, at least for the short term. She told Cointelegraph that “The type of scrutiny we’re seeing in the market from regulators is something that obviously is not good to see in this bear market in the short term.”

Cointelegraph’s Yana Prikhodchenko introduces the CT acceleration award. Source: José Val Bal

“In the long term, it will actually create such a much better environment for everybody, for liquidity, for a lot of the new ideas to form safely and for talent, she added”

“You want your best talent to work in a very compliant environment, so they don’t get caught and get go to jail or any of that. So I think I think regulation was the long term is going to be super helpful.”

Indeed light of a bear market in which the likes of FTX, Luna, Celsius and BlockFi blackened the crypto industry’s reputation, John Murillo, who spent decades in traditional finance, summed up the industry’s needs succinctly:

“Regulation brings transparency. Transparency ultimately brings credibility, and credibility is what everyone is seeking for.”

While regulation was the mot du jour, innovation and disruption to the traditional finance space were excitedly spoken about.

Related: Market makers in the crypto industry: party planners or bartenders?

A new phrase was coined during the conference, “recycle to earn.” The phrase is blockchain company Circularr’s slogan, which participated and then won the CT accelerator prize.

Circularr took home the prize worth $35,000. Pictured Daniel Salmeron (EBC), Eric Vogel (Circularr), Victoria Gago (EBV) and Prikhodchenko. Photo: José Val Bal

Circularr is a blockchain-based recycling pioneer who hopes to bring trust back to recycling. The team won a $35,000 value grant courtesy of Cointelegraph following a slick one-minute pitch on stage during the start-up pitch competition. The startup pitch brought the conference to a climax and reminded the audience of the Web3 industry’s roots, that of disruption, innovation and ownership.

BIS head claims fiat won battle with crypto, Bitcoin community disagrees

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has long taken a cautious approach to Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies. No need for caution anymore, however, as the “battle has been won” between fiat and crypto, according to BIS.

BIS general manager Agustín Carstens, who made the claim, highlighted that “technology doesn’t make for trusted money,” among further criticisms of crypto in an interview with Bloomberg.

As the central bank for central banks, the BIS has emphasized the need for regulation and risk management in the crypto space–but claiming the fiat battle has been won sparked outrage, satire and corrections among the Bitcoin and crypto community.

Ray Youssef, CEO of Paxful and vocal Bitcoin maximalist told Cointelegraph that it’s “easy to get sucked into these battles but is all a distraction with no ROI.” He continued, “We must focus on the battles in the global south and fight for every inch and every eyeball. What is happening in Nigeria now is vital for us all.”

“Want to p*ss the clowns off? Ignore their FUD bait and focus all in on the global south and what is happening on the streets of nigeria.”

Bitcoin author Saifedean Ammous brought the BIS story to his followers’ attention, provoking condemnation and concern in the comments. Florida-based Bitcoin advocate called SVN (not his real name), whose frozen bank account prompted a switch to going all in on Bitcoin, told Cointelegraph that “These people are clowns.”

Meanwhile, Lady Anarki, a Bitcoin advocate based who recently closed a Bitcoin Security Education company explained that “fiat and crypto are essentially the same exact scam.”

“For fiat, it is nefarious elite oligarchs creating a rigged game system to enrich themselves while making everyone else poorer. Bitcoin is a technology designed with incentives and sound economic principles that enriches anyone who brings value to the world.”

Bitcoin losing the “war” for money, as Carstens explained, is another reference to the fact that Bitcoin has been declared dead, dead and dead again. The 2022 and 2023 bear market is no different, and Bitcoin advocates on Twitter seized the opportunity to mock financial experts dancing on the imaginary grave of the decentralized currency. 

Nonetheless, Bitcoin is up over 40% from its 2022 lows, and Lightning Network adoption flourishes while the community appears increasingly vocal.

What Bitcoin Did, the popular podcast hosted by football club owner Peter McCormacknumber 38 on Cointelegraph’s Top 100–tweeted some handy statistics to correct another inflammatory statement published by the BIS this week. Notably, from August 2015 to December 2022, the BIS explained that “nearly all economies made losses on their Bitcoin holdings.”

As shown, the Bitcoin price continues to trend higher despite the BIS’ best efforts to the contrary.

The BIS has been a vocal critic of cryptocurrencies in the past, citing concerns about their volatility, scalability, and energy consumption. However, the BIS has also researched stablecoins and central bank digital currencies, juxtaposing Carsten’s comment in the Bloomberg interview that tech “doesn’t make for trusted money.”

Related: Coinbase staking ‘fundamentally different’ to Kraken’s — chief lawyer

Willem Middelkoop, author and Bitcoin advocate, highlighted that the war between fiat and crypto is far from over. A cursory scroll on the original Bloomberg Crypto tweet would suggest that the war is just heating up.

Market makers in the crypto industry: party planners or bartenders?

What is a market maker, and how do they differ in the crypto and traditional finance markets? At the European Blockchain Conference in Barcelona, Cointelegraph discussed the topic with key market makers in the crypto industry on one of the conference’s first panels.

Cointelegraph reporter Joseph Hall drew up the analogy that crypto market makers are much like cool bartenders at a very high-tech and unashamedly nerdy cocktail party. Their job is to keep the drinks flowing, i.e., provide liquidity and ensure everyone’s having a good time while maintaining order in the market.

That means they secretly hope that no one gets too drunk, makes a fool of themselves and ruins everything. Ultimately, market makers are there to manage risk and make sure the bouncers kick out the likes of Sam Bankman-Fried and other bad actors. 

In essence, crypto market makers are the ultimate party planners, but instead of balloons, cake and a banging Spotify playlist, they use leverage algorithms and order books. Head of Commercial Strategy at a large crypto market maker, Stef Wynendaele, suggested that “It’s a great definition, but it implies too much power to what a market maker does.”

“We’re actually the dance floor. We’re actually the music. We’re there to support, you know, the party. We’re there at all times. We’re there at 9 p.m. and we’re there at 5 a.m. in the morning.”

Wynendaele suggested that market makers are the foundations of a thriving crypto economy and that they’re not in fact “the bartender who controls who drinks or not.”

Stef Wynendaele of Keyrock explains during the EBC

For Patrick Heusser, Chief Commercial Officer at Crypto Finance, the bartender analogy works well. However, “Someone has to do the logistics,” he explained. “Someone has to make sure there is enough beer in the back and stuff for the drinks–and market infrastructure is super important for market makers.”

“Otherwise, you just have fancy flashing price screens, and if you can’t settle or if you’re not comfortable with settling certain trades with certain counterparties, the marketplace is not as attractive as it should be.”

So if the crypto economy was a party, the market makers could be the dance floor, the music, and the logistics.

Guilhem Chaumount, CEO of market makers Flowdesk based in France, explained that we also must keep in mind that in the crypto space, “it’s there’s not one bar, it’s dozens of bars. Some of them are centralized or decentralized. They are open 24/7, 365. You have so many cocktails, 20,000 cocktails available. You don’t know what’s in them.”

Chaumont listens in during the panel.

On top of that, “The prices are not in U.S. dollars or euro and Bitcoin (BTC) and whatever crypto,” underlining the distinction between traditional finance market making and crypto market making.

For traditional finance, Chaumont explained, it’s mostly “proprietary trading firms operating off their balance sheet, trying to generate profit and loss”. Whereas in crypto, there is a more technological approach because the assets are infinitely harder to price.

Murillo spent years in tradfi before working in crypto

Following an extensive career in traditional finance, John Murillo, a chief dealing officer at B2Broker, explained that the way in which brokers pick market makers remains the same: “You just choose which party to attend because everyone has a party.”

“Our approach on crypto makers is no different than it was in my old days, where you assess counterparties, where you pick and choose who you want to connect and integrate. I think that’s the key to creating a reliable solution.”

In all, Chaumant summed up that market makers carry a “huge responsibility.” He shared that while Bitcoin (BTC) might have recently reclaimed $25,000, The industry will not recover without the aid and assistance of market makers. 

Paying the way for Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador: Video

The Bitcoin (BTC) white paper title describes Bitcoin as a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” So how is Bitcoin being used as a means of exchange, or electronic cash, in the first country to adopt Bitcoin? 

Reporter Joe Hall spent a few weeks in El Salvador attempting to live off Bitcoin and Bitcoin only. He documented his trials, tribulations, successes and satoshis (the smallest amount of a Bitcoin) in a video for Cointelegraph’s YouTube channel:


Headlines from El Salvador within the crypto community have been largely positive. Moreover, statistics emanating from the country have been abundantly positive; tourism is up 30%, crime and the murder rate in El Salvador have decreased dramatically, and the Bitcoin bonds project is underway in 2023.

Nonetheless, while Bitcoin is undoubtedly one of the best-known brands worldwide; and a marketing tool that appeals to a pool of ardent Bitcoin believers around the world, its use as a means of exchange is often questioned. In El Salvador, it’s no different, as Hall explains.

Some Salvadoran vendors are laser-eyed hodlers; others made their first Bitcoin payment with Hall and were keen to ask questions and learn more.

Tipping Henry the delivery guy in Bitcoin to his Chivo wallet at 2 am. Source: Cointelegraph

Hall was surprised, dismayed, entertained and ultimately enthused by his findings in the country. Adopting a new technology as novel and misunderstood as Bitcoin is a mammoth task, but Salvadorans are getting stuck into the new technology where possible.

Retailers like Walmart had the option to pay in Bitcoin — but the process was slow and inconvenient — while the likes of Texaco were staunchly anti-Bitcoin. At McDonald’s, the experience is smooth and fast; it’s even quicker than the McDonald’s branches that accept Bitcoin in Switzerland.

From the Adopting Bitcoin conference — a Lightning conference in San Salvador that gathered Bitcoiners from around the world — down to Bitcoin Beach and Surf City, across to the volcanoes of Santa Ana and on the streets of San Salvador, Hall mingled with locals to get a better sense of Bitcoin as a means of exchange.

Related: El Salvador’s Bitcoin strategy evolved with the bear market in 2022

Hall attended the “My First Bitcoin” educational graduation ceremony at a school in El Pacheco. The founder, John Dennehy, was recently interviewed by Cointelegraph. Dennehy explained the group’s plan to remedy Bitcoin education in El Salvador by teaching teenagers how to Bitcoin.

Indeed, the recent graduates Hall interviewed at the school grasped the fundamental tenets of Bitcoin and expressed their belief that Bitcoin represents hope for the future. Watch the video to find out more.

UK think tank launches a crusade against ‘surveillance’ CBDCs

The U.K. Tax Reform Council has launched a campaign against the Bank of England’s plan to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The non-profit organization warns that such a move could seriously harm individual privacy and lead to intrusive changes to the taxation system.

The freshly formed Tax Reform Council includes monetary economist John Chown, cofounder of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, on its advisory board. The Tax Reform Council believes implementing a CBDC would lead to increased government surveillance, greater intrusion from tax authorities and a heightened risk of cyber attacks on the nation’s monetary system.

The think tank shares similar concerns to the U.K. Bitcoin (BTC) community which has been vocal in its criticism of CBDCs. Jordan Walker, co-founder of the U.K.’s Bitcoin Collective, explained that “the rollout of CBDCs in the U.K. is dangerous on a matter of fronts. We would be handing over more control of our money to the government and central bank.”

“This ties the monetary system even closer to the political system which has caused significant problems in the past and present. Instead we should be aiming to separate money and politics.”

The advisory board economists including Patrick Minford, Julian Jessop and Chown, stated that “the decision of the Bank of England to pursue a British CBDC raises a number of very real concerns.” The group seeks to raise awareness of the “increased government surveillance” that CBDCs may offer.

CBDCs claim to offer greater financial inclusion, reduced costs for businesses and consumers, and increased security. However, Bitcoin already offers these advantages and more: El Salvador banked swathes of its population by introducing the Bitcoin law, while Bitcoin also provides a way out for those living in authoritarian regimes.

In the U.K. the Treasury and the Bank of England have been recruiting for CBDC roles. The Bank of England has highlighted the “need” to create a digital version of the British pound, despite pushback from the broader crypto community. 

Related: UAE central bank to issue CBDC as part of its financial transformation program

According to the Tax Reform Council, every personal transaction made using a CBDC would be recorded on the Bank of England’s private blockchain ledger, giving the taxman unprecedented access to individuals’ financial history. The press release stated that this is already happening in China with the renminbi CBDC.

Walker sounded the alarm: “I believe we are closer to the rollout than many think and unless we have greater education around this topic, we’ll see many people in this country unknowingly get sucked into this digitized monetary control.”

You don’t see that every day: Bitcoin empty block found

Bitcoin (BTC) is known for its robustness, security and predictability. Every 10 minutes–on average–the blockchain produces a new block and the successful miner earns a block reward of 6.25 BTC, circa $130,000. 

However, every once in a while, the Bitcoin blockchain surprises observers and participants.

At block height 776,339, nodes across the network verified a completely empty block. The block was added to the Bitcoin blockchain with zero included transactions–leading to some confusion among the crypto community. So, what exactly is an empty block, and how does it happen?

Block expectation vs reality according to source:

First, while an empty block might seem strange at first, it’s actually a normal occurrence on the network. The last time it occurred was little over two weeks ago, in block 774486.

Miners are incentivized to mine blocks as quickly as possible, and sometimes they will mine a block before they have received any transactions to include. When this happens, the block remains empty.

The Bitcoin mempool, the go-to space for analysing the Bitcoin blockchain offers the following explanation: “When a new block is found, mining pools send miners a block template with no transactions so they can start searching for the next block as soon as possible. They send a block template full of transactions right afterward, but a full block template is a bigger data transfer and takes slightly longer to reach miners.”

“In this intervening time, which is usually no more than 1-2 seconds, miners sometimes get lucky and find a new block using the empty block template.”

In essence, the miners “got lucky” by mining a template. In this instance, the Bitcoin block at height 776,389 was added mere seconds after its predecessor, 776,488. ‎However, Block 776,388 earned an extra 0.086 BTC or circa $1,854 in fees, which was added to the block reward of ‎6.25 BTC or circa $135,247.

Even though an empty block doesn’t contain any transactions, the miner still receives the block reward of newly minted bitcoins. As such, Block 776,389 was awarded 6.25 BTC; no transaction fees. Binance Pool was the winning miner, who contribute as much as 12% to t total hash rate.

Bitcoin mining pool ranking. Source:

It’s important to note that empty blocks are not a problem for the network. By mining empty blocks, miners still produce the coin generation transaction, also known as the coinbase transaction, which keeps Bitcoin steady on its path to reaching 21 million Bitcoin issued. 

Related: Public miners increased Bitcoin production, hash rate in January

According to data from BitInfoCharts, the percentage of empty blocks on the network is usually around 1-2%. The stat is more surprising today given the rise of “ordinals” on Bitcoin, or the ability to permanently etch pictures, data and stamps onto the blockchain.

The rise in ordinals has provoked some questions and even concern among the Bitcoin community, and the first instances of pornography were recently recorded. The mempool has been increasingly busy and block space has been contested for as some jpeg enthusiasts scramble to contribute their art to the Bitcoin blockchain.