Experimental Vending Machine Dispenses Coca-Cola After Accepting Bitcoin (BTC) Payments Via Lightning Network

Omar Faridi
  • Brazilian programmer has developed a vending machine that dispenses Coca-Cola after receiving a Bitcoin (BTC) via the Lightning Network (LN).
  • Similar LN-enabled BTC payment processing devices have been developed by LightningPeach.

A Brazilian computer programmer and hardware hacker has created a handmade automated vending machine that accepts Bitcoin (BTC) payments for Coca-Cola. The vending machine reportedly uses the Lightning Network (LN) (a second layer payment channel to enable faster transactions) to process BTC transactions.

According to the TheNextWeb, the Coca-Cola dispensing machine has been assembled by using wood, a touch screen, water pump, and a Raspberry Pi. As demonstrated in the video shared by its creator, the customer has to scan a QR code that appears to be processing a BTC payment.

Once the payment goes through, the machine dispenses the soft drink to the customer. In order to send the BTC payment as fast as possible, while also paying a negligible amount in transaction fees, the developer used the Lightning Network (LN).

Only A Proof-Of-Concept

At present, LN-enabled payment solutions are in their early stages of development. The LN-powered BTC payment processor developed by the Brazilian programmer (Ricardo Reis) also seems to be just a proof-of-concept at this point and is not affiliated with the Coca-Cola company.

As covered by CryptoGlobe, Lithuania-based payment processor, CoinGate, announced last month that over 4,000 merchants using its services may now use the LN to accept BTC payments.

In August, CryptoGlobe reported that Shitcoin.com CEO Andreas Brekken had been experimenting with the LN and documenting his experience. Brekken had said that most versions of the LN currently have many glitches.

The former software engineer at digital asset exchange Kraken also noted that the LN is currently “impractical for even the most technical users.” Although Brekken found that making BTC payments via the LN was cheaper, he experienced transaction routing errors and other issues related to crypto wallets supporting the second-layer payment solution.

LightningPeach, Bitfury

Despite these issues, the ongoing development of LN protocol enabled micro-payment solutions are being worked on extensively. Last month, Netherlands-based blockchain firm Bitfury revealed that its engineering team (Lightning Peach) had developed a device that reportedly connected a coffee machine to the LN.

Similar to how the Brazilian programmer created a proof-of-concept for a LN-enabled BTC payment processor, LightningPeach’s device consists of a small credit-card sized Raspberry Pi computer and a purpose-built circuit board that allow the vending machine to accept payments in the cryptocurrency and dispense coffee.

Describing how the coffee machine processes BTC payments, LightningPeach’s community head, Vasyl Grygorovych, told Coindesk:

With a small computer and a chip, which is assembled by us or is easy to reproduce … it is much easier to pay with cryptocurrencies than with credit cards, because you don't need your credit cards at all, you just need your mobile device.

LightningPeach Community Leader