Bitrefill CEO Sergej Kotliar Says BTC Lightning Network Has Tradeoffs

Sergej Kotliar, the Chief Executive Officer of Bitrefill, says that the Lightning Network has been getting some attention in recent months. Bitrefill is one of the first companies to integrate near-zero fee lightning network payments for a mobile phone top-up service.

Bitrefill began selling gift vouchers for Amazon and many other brands, moreover it effectively opened Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN) payments to most of the items.

Indeed, Bitrefill was one of the first companies in the market that embraced LN and its promise of close to zero fees and instant payments.

During an interview with Bitcoinist, he mentioned that implementing the LN, was very straightforward. He said that LN would be the best way to scale bitcoin to the masses.

He commented that Lightning is not the only thing they have done to improve payment experience. Indeed, they’ve optimized bitcoin payments, wallet management and integrated of different altcoins.

Mr. Kotliar commented about Lightning Network:

“What Lightning does for UX is that it separates away most of the tricky stuff like getting transactions confirmed etc. from the merchant – all hat is handled inside the wallet. So when the user comes to us all trouble has already been solved so to speak, and their experience with us is simple. This is to be compared to traditional cryptocurrency payments where issues can happen due to the sending wallet, the state of the network, or due to something within our control.”

Lightning Network is similar to bitcoin because anyone can run it, it has an open protocol, it does not need other coins, deals or consortiums. It is very simple to set up if someone has the technical knowledge.

The Lightning Network is currently growing at very fast rates. At the moment of writing there are more than 3,200 nodes, 11,400+ channels, and the network has a capacity of 87 BTC.

For Sergej Kotliar, the current state of the LN is ready enough for early adopters. For example, he mentions the experience with the Android wallets that are now available on the market. It is possible to make improvements in different areas such as desktop and iOS wallets.

Exchanges will soon be able to start using the Lightning Network, this is why Kotliar is expecting this to happen in the near future.

He noted that they keep an eye opened to track the most important metrics in the Lightning Network. His company is currently able to track its own metrics, and that’s very positive.

Of course, with the Lightning Network it is possible to implement several new possibilities such as cross-atomic chain swaps or submarine swaps. But Kotliar is very excited about simple payments and providing a good user experience for bitcoin users.

According to him, if the issue about payments is sorted out and solved, then, the community should be focused on helping people earn and receive Bitcoin.

Kotliar said that that he is surprised that exchanges are not integrating lightning transactions in order to improve fees and user experience.

“I’m actually surprised that they haven’t gone live with it already. Being able to instantly get your funds in and out of your account is a huge feature,”

he explained about it.

Sergej Kotliar said that the Lightning Network would work in the same areas as Bitcoin is currently working. However, LN will be solving several problems that Bitcoin is now facing.

He explained that Lightning has trade offs as well. Furthermore, he does not think that the entire solution for Bitcoin’s problem is the LN. But that could be a good way to grow between 10 to 100 times until someone finds a new way to optimize the network even more.

The last question is related to why other companies such as the Blockchain Wallet did not integrate SegWit to offer better services.

He answered:

“It’s hard for me to speculate about other companies. Maybe they have different priorities, or their customers don’t value that quality more than other things.”

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