How This Decentralized Alternative to BitPay Is Driving Merchant Adoption of Bitcoin

Siamak Masnavi

BTCPay Server is an open source Bitcoin payment processing solution, created by French computer programmer Nicolas Dorier, that is promoted as a decentralized alternative to using BitPay. In a recent interview, Dorier talked about how he got into Bitcoin, the motivation behind BTCPay Server, and the current state of BTCPay Server.

Dorier was interviewed on the most recent episode of the Stephan Livera Podcast (SLP48, released on January 20th). In this article, we highlight some of the most interesting parts of this interview.

How Nicolas Dorier Got Into Bitcoin

"What Drew me into Bitcoin was basically Mt. Gox... I was very surprised that Bitcoin was not dead after this. I didn't know what Bitcoin was... but because it was still living... I got curious about it."

What Got Him Working on Bitcoin

"Because once you discover Bitcoin, everything [else] seems boring."

What Motivated You to Create BTCPay Server? What Was Wrong With BitPay?

"I was a pretty big fan of what BitPay was doing. I was using their [Bitcoin wallet] wallet, Copay, which was one of the best wallets on the markets at this time. I was pretty supportive of them. And I was a bit upset when they start pushing the narrative that it was a software upgrade instead of a hard fork and tried to push all their merchants to support this new sxxxcoin [BCH] and telling them that it was Bitcoin... Because Bitcoin is hard to program upon, lots of people end up depending on centralized infrastructure providers like BitPay... and, at the end of the day, if everybody is depending on them, then even if you have a decentralized currency, you are still vulnerable to the kind of attack that Bitcoin is meant to prevent. So, that is why I started working on BTCPay. I wanted to provide an easy to host infrastructure that everyone can run so they don't need those kind of third-party services to run their business."

How Dorier Tried to Make BitPay 'Obsolete'

Before we look at Dorier's answer, it is important to mention that on 18 August 2017, Dorier replied to a tweet by BitPay about getting ready for SegWit activation as follows:

Now, let us hear from Dorier how he tried to keep this promise:

"Well, when this happened, basically, I understood that Bitcoin was in danger if everybody kept depending on centralized services. So, I started developing BTCPay... If you are a merchant and you integrate BitPay, you cannot easily migrate to another solution if you don't have a developer in-house that can help you with this transition... So, my goal was to migrate everybody that I advised BitPay to to [an] open source solution without [any] code change on their side. So, I basically, replicated the API of BitPay inside BTCPay so merchants that are already integrated with BitPay can just seamlessly migrate to BTCPay without any code change to their backend... I won't say [that] I make them completely obsolete yet. So, for example, if you want fiat integration, you still need a payment processor like BitPay, though I will advise... GloBee or CoinPayments or many other [solutions] that have been created..."

Different Ways of Operating BTCPay Server

"Right now, the most popular one is around $9 per month. When I started doing it in [Microsoft] Azure, it was $60 [per month. We managed to find ways to drop it less than $10 per month., and it's really [a] very simple wizard. You create an account on LunaNode... Then, you just have to go to a certain page [where] there is a sort of wizard that you can follow... in 10 minutes, you already have your BTCPay that is running. I think I can drop it to $4 [per month] with the new offer that LunaNode released recently, but I still need to make some tests around this. Also, there are some people that are trying to push self-hosting at home... So, basically, you put BTCPay Server on a Raspberry Pi... If you do this, it's more technical, but you can drop the price to $1 or $2 per month, basically the cost of electricity that it takes to run the Raspberry Pi."

Deciding Whether to Self-Host BTCPay Server or Use a Crypto Payment Processor Like GloBee?

"The other options are possible depending on where you live, depending on [your] jurisdiction, and depending on your political inclinations. So, if you are Gab, GloBee or CoinPayments or anything else will eventually get shut down. For people that are not politically targeted, they can be good solutions, but because of the fact that you don't control you own key, what you can do with those payment processors is way more restricted. So, for example, BTCPay Server is not only useful for merchants; actually, it is a very good wallet."

Tim Draper: Bitcoin to $250,000 Thanks to the Lightning Network

Will Heasman

By 2023 bitcoin will fetch a quarter of a million dollars - and it's all down to the Lightning Network. That is, according to bitcoin advocate, and VC, Tim Draper.

During a Q&A last week at Malta's AI and Blockchain Summit, Draper cited bitcoin's Lightning Network - an initiative focused on fostering instant bitcoin payments - as a catalyst to $250,000.

Draper explains: 

I think bitcoin payments processors are really going to open the floodgates.

This isn't a new prediction. Draper has touted the 250,000 figure previously, remarking that it may even be underestimating bitcoin's potential.  

Reiterating this position, Draper expanded, highlighting the prospects of the Network and bitcoin processors such as OpenNode:

It’s because of Lightning Network and OpenNode and maybe others that are allowing us to spend Bitcoin very freely and quickly, so that it’s not just a store of value, but it can be used for micropayments; it can be used for retail, it can be used all over.

The Lightning Network: Boom or Bust?

Aiming to simultaneously create instant transactions for little to no fee, the Lightning Network promises to be one of the most integral components of bitcoin's development.

However, at present, the initiative is plagued by bugs. Back in September, developers discovered a flaw in the network, which allowed for the spending of artificial BTC. The bug wasn't immediately disclosed, leading to a loss for many and resulting in backlash. 

While it aims to bolster bitcoin, the lightning network might need to work out a few kinks beforehand. As for Drapers predictions, 2023 may be a little optimistic. 

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com