Lightning Network Comes to 4,000 Merchants Worldwide Thanks to CoinGate

Lithuanian blockchain payment processor CoinGate, which was founded in 2014, has announced that over 4,000 merchants worldwide that use its services can now accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments over Lightning Network (LN), a "second layer" payment protocol that enables instant, scalable, and low-cost Bitcoin transactions.

Here is how CoinGate works. Imagine you want to sell a product or service and you want to be able to allow customers to pay with crypto; let's say the price is $10. CoinGate then calculates (by contacting various exchanges) how much the customer would need to pay in bitcoin or 50+ other cryptocurrencies (if Bitcoin is chosen, then there is the option of sending the bitcoin payment over the Lightning Network). The customer uses a crypto wallet to make the payment. You (the merchant) will get paid by CoinGate payment (minus a 1% processing fee) in either bitcoin, euros, or dollars.

One thing that is worth mentioning, even though it may appear obvious to some, is that if a customer wishes to pay with bitcoin over the Lighning Network, he/she needs to have a wallet that supports the Lightning Network, such as the "Bitcoin Lightning Wallet" for Android, which was developed by Anton Kumaigorodski.

CoinGate provides four types of integration for merchants:

  • A "Point of Sale" (POS) mobile app (for iOS or Android) for accepting crypto payments in any retail business.
  • Crypto payment plugins for various e-commerce solutions (such as WooCommerce and Magento)
  • A Merchant Payment API, which "provides full automation for accepting Bitcoin, Litecoin and other coins, unique addresses for each order, real-time transparent exchange rates for customers, and a platform for merchants to track and manage their payment history and payouts."
  • Payment Buttons (for Bitcoin or altcoins) that can be placed on the merchant's website.

On 24 June 2018, CoinGate explained via a blog post that listed the benefits of Lightning Network and why it had decided to support it. In particular, the post made explained that "the underlying reasoning for launching LN" is their "strong belief that this technology will have a huge positive impact on Bitcoin as a whole."

Then, around a week later (on 2 July 2018), CoinGate announced via another blog post that it had launched a Lightning Network pilot involving around 100 merchants. 

And finally, on 5 September 2018, CoinGate announced that Lightning Network support had gone live, thereby enabling its over 4000 customers (merchants) to accept Bitcoin payments over the Lightning Network without any extra effort.

CoinGate notes that although there is a lot of ongoing development effort aimed at making Lightning Network more user-friendly and reliable, the technology "is in its early days and more suited to advanced users and Bitcoin enthusiasts."

Dmitrijus Borisenka, co-founder and CEO of CoinGate, said that the pilot launch had been successful:

“We were pleasantly surprised when we came across tweets of our Lightning Network implementation at the Kasbah Bar in Oslo. You may have heard critics claiming, ‘you can’t buy coffee with Bitcoin’. Well, we’re not sure about coffee, but buying beer with Bitcoin within a second for zero fees is definitely possible in Oslo"

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'Big Spender' Bitcoin Wallet Exploit Is an 'Issue With BTC Itself', Says BCH Supporter

Michael LaVere
  • Crypto security firm ZenGo has identified a double-spend exploit dubbed "BigSpender" which affected popular bitcoin wallets.
  • Exploit allows an attacker to cancel a bitcoin transaction without the receiving user knowing. 

A crypto security firm has identified a double-spend exploit targeting popular bitcoin wallet providers. 

According to a report by ZenGo, the security firm has discovered a double and multiple spend wallet exploit for bitcoin dubbed “BigSpender.” The report claims the exploit allows an attacker to cancel a bitcoin transaction but still have it appear in a victim’s vulnerable wallet. 

The report reads, 

The core issue at the heart of the BigSpender vulnerability is that vulnerable wallets are not prepared for the option that a transaction might be canceled and implicitly assume it will get confirmed eventually.

As CryptoGlobe reported, ZenGo found that a user’s balance would be increased following an unconfirmed incoming transaction, without a subsequent decrease in the event the transaction being double-spent. The firm outlined how an attacker could use the exploit to cancel transactions of sent bitcoin while still receiving goods and services in return. 

The security firm tested nine popular cryptocurrency wallets and found BRD, Ledger Live and Edge to be vulnerable to the exploit. All three companies were notified by ZenGo of the threat and subsequently updated their products. However, the firm noted that “millions” of crypto users may have been exposed to the attack prior to the update. 

Bitcoin Cash supporter Hayden Otto told Cointelegraph the exploit is particularly concerning for bitcoin-accepting merchants. 

He said, 

The technique is facilitated by RBF (replace by fee), a so-called ‘feature’ added at the protocol level by the Bitcoin Core developers.The issue exists if you use BTC. Wallet software can only make some trade off, which results in a worse BTC user experience, in order to try to protect BTC users.

Otto claimed the exploit was derived from “an issue with BTC itself” and had little to do with wallet software. 

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