If a big move for cryptocurrency adoption, a new service has been created that enables users to give instant Bitcoin tips on Twitter via the Lightning Network. European startup Tippin.me has developed a new plugin extension for both Chrome and Firefox that adds a little tip button to Twitter. The button enables users to send instant tips of any BTC value (even a few cents) with almost zero fees.

It’s one of the newest and most useful implementations of the Lightning Network since its inception last year. While the plugin currently only exists for Twitter, it could potentially be integrated into any media platform and promises to open up a whole new way for content creators to earn income. By circumnavigating the need for third-party payment methods or a central agency, it represents everything cryptocurrency was originally intended for.

Even the founder of Twitter himself, Jack Dorsey, promoted the new extension in a Tweet, saying “This is excellent”.

How it Works

Any Twitter user that would like to receive tips via the new system simply has to login to the tippin.me web app with their Twitter credentials. This automatically creates a digital wallet which will then be able to receive Bitcoin via the Lightning Network.

However, the process to tip somebody is a bit more complex, which means it may require some time before it becomes widely adopted. To tip somebody who has the button available on their Twitter profile, users will need a Lightning Network wallet through which they can open a direct channel to tippin.me by scanning a QR code.

The Lightning Network

The Lightning Network was developed as a means to deal with the lack of scalability that the Bitcoin network struggles with and offer the ability to make micropayments at a low cost. In its current state, Bitcoin can only handle limited transactions per second with high fees due to the fact that confirmation takes so long to validate. To resolve this issue, Lightning Network has created a way to settle transactions “off-chain” using smart contracts and a network of nodes. Essentially, transactions are settled before being confirmed but are guaranteed through the use of immutable smart contracts.

However, the network is currently quite small and in order for its true potential to be realized it will need to more widely adopted. While on paper it shows real promise, it has drawn criticism from Bitcoin traditionalists who believe it could cause centralization and the ‘locking up’ of funds. Bitcoin entrepreneur Andreas Antonopoulos has gone to some lengths to address these concerns but only time will tell if the network proves its worth.