Cryptocurrency payment gateway CoinGate is launching a pilot program for 100 merchants to test transactions on a Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN) variant of their service, according to news shared with Cointelegraph today, July 10

According to CoinGate’s blog post, the merchants taking part in the LN trial include esports betting websites, online stores with crypto merchandise, servers and hosting services, and adult entertainment websites. The post notes that Lightning Network payments “will be” available starting on July 1.

The Lightning Network is a second layer solution to the problems with scalability for the Bitcoin (BTC) network that works by keeping the majority of transactions off-chain.

Rytis Bieliauskas, the CTO of CoinGate, told Cointelegraph that their pilot program “allows [them] to be the first ones to test the Lightning Network in real life, and therefore to gather valuable experience on how this technology works, how it can be improved, etc.”

Referring to the Lightning Network as “one of the most awaited developments for the community,” Bieliauskas also noted although they see Lightning Network technology as “ultimately help[ing] Bitcoin become much quicker and lighter:”

“LN technology is even newer, less user friendly, so it will take 1-2 years for consumer applications to develop and probably more for merchants to start adopting this more actively.”

Bieliauskas noted that CoinGate will also cover any costs incurred if funds are lost in the LN trial, as Lightning Network technology is still in the early stages.

A study released at the end of June alleging that the Lightning Network had a low reliability of successfully routing a payment was refuted by the co-founder of Lightning Labs, as well as other crypto experts.

Also in June, Pokémon came to the Lightning Network in the form of Poketoshi, a game using a LN-enabled virtual controller that charges users 10 Satoshi per command, with one Satoshi equal to one hundred millionth of a single bitcoin.