Cash App Adding Lightning Network Support for Bitcoin Payments
Following an eventful 2021 (and a recent price crash), Bitcoin is looking to have a big year in 2022. Specifically, while many in the public see the crypto asset as a speculative investment play, a greater number of companies are working to make Bitcoin payments a more common reality. Among them is Block, Inc. (formerly Square Inc.) which has just announced plans to expand its crypto payment options.
As TechCrunch reports, the popular Cash App will be integrating with the Lightning Network. While the new capability began rolling out to some customers in recent days, the company says it should reach all U.S. users in the coming weeks. Notably, the offering will be made possible via the Lightning Development Kit, which comes from Block’s recently-renamed Spiral company (formerly Square Crypto).
Once Lightning support is rolled out to all users, they’ll be able to send Bitcoin payments for free. A statement from Cash App explained, “Customers can send Bitcoin internationally from Cash App to any external compatible wallet to a friend, family members, a self-managed wallet, or any merchant that accepts Lightning Network payments, with zero fees.” Previously Cash App customers could send Bitcoin to other users on the platform, while external transfers may have incurred fees.
The addition of Lightning has been an oft-requested feature ever since Cash App enabled Bitcoin trading. Furthermore, Block Inc. CEO and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey experimented with the Lightning Network via Twitter back in 2019. Outside of that, Dorsey has been a big supporter of Bitcoin while shunning other cryptocurrencies. Also in 2019, when asked by a customer if Cash App would offer other crypto assets, Dorsey replied, “Nah” before sharing a lengthier response, stating, “Bitcoin is resilient. Bitcoin is principled. Bitcoin is native to internet ideals. And it’s a great brand.”
More recently, Dorsey has also shared that Block intends to get into the Bitcoin mining business. His intentions were first discussed in an October 2021 thread, in which he wrote, “Square is considering building a Bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon and open source for individuals and businesses worldwide. If we do this, we’d follow our hardware wallet model: build in the open in collaboration with the community.” Then, last week, the CEO declared, “We’re officially building an open bitcoin mining system.”
Overall, Cash App’s Lightning integration is notable for a few reasons. For one, it’s great news for users who may be seeking an easy-to-use solution for Bitcoin payments and who don’t want to have to worry about fees. Meanwhile, the adoption is also significant for the newly-minted Block Inc. as it demonstrates how one of the company’s businesses can create tools that can then be employed by other divisions. Lastly, given the popularity of the Cash App already, this could well increase the use of Bitcoin and Lightning Network going forward. Thus, 2022 could certaintly be a big year for BTC and cryptocurrencies in general.