Bitcoin Lightning Network Payments Hit Bitfinex in Industry First

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has revealed the first of two major upgrades it says will completely change user payments and spending habits. 

In a tweet on Dec. 2, the platform’s CTO, Paolo Ardoino, confirmed that as of Tuesday, it would support Bitcoin (BTC) transactions on the Lightning Network (LN).

The move is a first for a major cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex announcing it via its updates mailing list.

Exchange eyes free and instant BTC payments

Users will benefit from instant transactions and will pay almost zero fees to send funds via Lightning. The reveal appears to correspond to the first of two mystery “integrations” Bitfinex announced on its website last month. 

“Once this feature is unlocked, crypto transactions will never be the same again,” its description reads.

The second improvement remains unknown but appears to focus on spending, rather than exchanging cryptocurrency. 

“When this feature is live, the way you spend crypto will change forever,” Bitfinex promises. 

Lightning inches into mainstream

Lightning has been functional on the Bitcoin mainnet since the start of 2018. Designed to improve Bitcoin network capacity, the tool has received high-profile backing from the likes of Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and others. 

At the same time, its use remains reserved for the technically minded, as its nascent state makes it unsuitable for novice crypto investors.

Commenting on Bitfinex’s decision, Ardoino was clear about his preferences for Bitcoin scaling: 

“LN and LN assets are not only the best P2P micro-payments solution, but an impressive settlement layer for B2B.”

Lightning company Bitrefill confirmed it would assist Bitfinex with deposits and withdrawals.

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