The Lightning Network has hit the ground running in one of the most challenging operating environments. Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, welcomed a new Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN) node this week, a vital step to better connect the continent to the Layer 2 payments network that sits atop Bitcoin.
The node runs on an old laptop powered by a diesel generator, as Lagos experiences power and electricity blackouts regularly.
In a discussion with Cointelegraph, Megasley, who operates Nigeria’s first Lightning node of 2023 and the first active Lightning node in the country (other nodes are inactive), shared his vision of bringing instant and low-cost payments to Africa thanks to LN. . .
”Light takes 50 milliseconds to cross the earth. This is fast, but with many hops these milliseconds can add up. And when you’re standing at a point of sale waiting for your payment to clear, it can be frustrating.”
Megasley explained his desire for Africans to have instant payments and as free as possible. “If a Nigerian Bitcoiner and a Nigerian retailer are connected to a node in Nigeria, it will give them the best Lightning experience,” added Megasley.
Nigeria Free Routing is live!
The lightning network is now alive and routed on the ground in Lagos.
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— Free Routing Africa ⚡ (@FreeRoutingAf) January 10, 2023
According to exploration services Mempool and Amboss, the operator is currently the only active node on the Nigerian map. By activating the node, the operator aims to make Lightning payments as accessible as possible for Africans.
When asked about the importance of building an extensive network of nodes around the world to facilitate Bitcoin payments, the node broker explained: “For Bitcoin to succeed, it needs to become a better, easier medium of exchange. and faster than the headlines. To get there, we need to build an extensive network of nodes around the world to facilitate these payments.”
Megasley also touched on the volatility of Bitcoin (BTC) prices and its perception in Africa: “People talk about the problem of volatility, but this is nothing when you live in a place where your money could easily lose half of its value in a year”.
“Africa has rotten money controlled by rotten people, and that is why we need Bitcoin. We will take away the power of money so that the enormous potential of the African people can flourish.”
In fact, there has been an increase in Bitcoin adoption among countries that use the Central African franc, fueled by Bitcoin conferences and forums in Senegal and Ghana. Although Nigeria has shown promising signs of Bitcoin adoption, such as the discussion of legal tender, the legacy financial system has imposed further restrictions in 2023.
For example, Nigerians will only be able to withdraw $44 per week for individuals and a maximum of $11,000 for businesses in 2023, based on government efforts to phase out cash. As a reminder, Bitcoin has no limits or restrictions on its use. To freely transact on the Bitcoin network, users only need a phone and an Internet connection.
Related: Bitcoin, Sango Coin and the Central African Republic
The establishment of a Bitcoin Lightning node in Nigeria is an important step in increasing the accessibility and adoption of the cryptocurrency in the country and the continent as a whole. Ultimately, Megasley hopes to empower people and businesses in Africa to take control of their financial future.