The first ever physical transaction may have been completed on the Lighting Network two days ago, according to Reddit user /u/btc_throwaway1337, who purchased a VPN Router through a payment channel provided by TorGuard.
The Lightning Network, designed to scale Bitcoin up for a global user base, functions by opening and recording a channel between two users on the Blockchain, with information about transactions only being recorded on the original Bitcoin Blockchain after the channel is closed. The Reddit user explained that he saw a tweet by TorGuard offering the service:
According to his post, the buyer opened a channel and completed the instantaneous transaction, amazingly without paying anything in fees. He said:
“I’m just your average BTC enthusiast, who had a bit of extra time last weekend. I saw TorGuard’s tweet, so I decided to contact them. I enquired as to purchasing more than just a monthly subscription, their staff gave me LN peering information, I opened a channel, received an invoice, and here we are!
It was all quick, easy, painless, and most importantly: instantaneous and fee-free!”
With the information public, TorGuard did offer a warning to users regarding the c-lightning network, stating that it is not yet ‘production ready’. The company offered to cover any loss of funds that may result from using the system.
Disclaimer: c-lightning is not production ready. TorGuard will cover loss of funds when sending us LN payments. Testnet is so boring.— TorGuard (@TorGuard) January 8, 2018
The completion of the first ever physical purchase on the Lightning Network is a significant milestone in the development of Bitcoin, akin to the famous pizza day.
Over the past several years, the increasing transaction fees and times on the Bitcoin network have made direct Bitcoin purchases of low-price items nearly impossible, forcing users to switch to other cryptocurrencies.
The option to send near-instant, fee-free transactions might re-enable small purchases to be made directly with Bitcoin.