Solar powered lightning nodes: Africa’s path to the Bitcoin lightning network

Bitcoin is definitely playing a significant role when it comes to Africa’s financial sovereignty. The flagship currency is being adopted by many to scale hurdles which local currencies can’t. 

While bitcoin might be lighting a path to Africa’s prosperity, basic infrastructure such  as electricity remains a major challenge for the currency.

Lightning nodes,unlike p2p trading, is not a popular phenomenon in Africa’s bitcoin ecosystem. According to Chimezie Chuta, the only person in Nigeria who runs a lightning node, “I think this will help many people living in low-income regions of the world to become part of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Beyond trading and speculation, Africa seems to have zero representation,” he says 

What is the Bitcoin lightning network?

A bitcoin lightning network is a second layer network that can transmit signed transactions, but these transactions aren’t broadcasted. Transactions can be transmitted on this network without a new block being added to the bitcoin blockchain. It, however, relies on the bitcoin blockchain for final settlement of funds. On the lightning network, block size does not matter, which means that transactions are faster. 

Lightning nodes are devices used to communicate on the lightning network. Nodes validate transactions, communicate with other nodes and hold funds. 

Solar powered lightning nodes

Blockspace Technologies, a company owned by Chimezie Chuta, has created solar powered lightning nodes called SpaceBox, to make more Africans run lightning nodes. Running nodes need constant power supply, something most parts of Africa have a shortage of. However, Chuta’s solar powered nodes hope to solve this problem. 

The lightning nodes coil give Africans a way of earning some money through the bitcoin network. Running lightning nodes is cheaper and less complicated, compared to mining. 

To Chuta, this is a means for Africa to get financial independence. There are only 8 lightning nodes in Africa. The SpaceBox could be a way to usher Africa into another ecosystem of crypto application. Trading and p2p are doing well on the continent but a complete adoption of all the goodness crypto has to offer could speed up Africa’s quest for financial sovereignty.

A SpaceBox now retails for N210,000. The technology has been seeing orders already, from different parts of the world. However, the pandemic has prevented a full blown campaign to make the tech and its advantages known to Africans and the world at large. 

Chuta’s dream is to build an army of people who run lightning nodes in Africa. With a lot of node-runners scattered all over the continent, a new crypto trend could start in Africa.

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