Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Comes to the Apple Watch

Siamak Masnavi

On Sunday (May 5), BlueWallet Services released a new version (v4.0.0) of its Bitcoin and Lightning wallet for iOS, which is called "BlueWallet"; this “milestone” release comes with an Apple Watch app that allows users to generate Lightning invoices directly on the watch.

What is BlueWallet?

BlueWallet is an open source (MIT-licensed) mobile Bitcoin wallet that was created as the result of a collaboration between UX Designer and Product manager Nuno Coelho (based in Barcelona) and developers Igor Korsakov (based in London) and Marcos Rodriguez (based in Atlanta). 

In a blog post published on December 3, Coelho explained the motivation behind BlueWallet:

"We were deeply frustrated with the current status of mobile wallet development on Bitcoin. Most of the wallets out there became a shitcoin horror show. Onboarding users to pure speculative useless tokens, where the creators are making money while the normal user is being introduced to scams, frauds on top of being directed to the least interesting aspect of the technology. Wasting time, creating frustration, and thereby resulting to a slow adoption... We want to bring to the community a wallet focused on the users and their usage."

He also explained that the BlueWallet team would be focusing its efforts on two pillars: "Security and User Experience."

BlueWallet's features include:

  • Sentinel Wallets: "Watch-only wallets allow you to keep an eye on your cold storage without touching your private key. Easily import your address or xpub and watch it from your app without ever touching it."
  • SegWit: "SegWit supported in P2SH-compatibility mode."
  • HD Wallets: Support for "Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) key creation and transfer protocol (BIP32)" means that a public key is generated for each transaction.
  • Multiple Wallets: All major wallet standards, i.e. BIP44 (HD), BIP49 (HD SegWit), BIP39 (Breadwallet-compatible), Legacy single-address, and SegWit single-address (P2SH) are supported.
  • Flexible Fees: Starting with 1 Satoshi, you control "the amount you want to add to your transaction," with BlueWallet assisting providing "fee estimation to give you an idea how much to add to your transaction to be included on the next block."
  • Lightning Wallets: Support for the Lightning protocol means you have access to ultra cheap and fast transactions.

Support for the Lightning Network

In a blog post published on Wednesday (December 19), BlueWallet's lead developer Igor Korsakov announced that BlueWallet had just added support for the Lightning Network. 

Korsakov started by saying that although the Lightning Network "promises low-fees and instant payments," it has the drawback of bringing "a lot of complexities and unfamiliarities to unsuspecting users."

He then said that they had decided to take a new approach to Lightning: 

"We decided to hide the complexity of running a node under the hood and take over the work of hub operator. This makes the user experience smooth, bringing Lightning payments to anyone who is at least remotely acquainted with cryptocurrencies and mobile wallets. We called it LndHub, an opensource wrapper around LND. This is '3rd layer solution' (as we jokingly call it; of course this is not real 3rd layer)."

Then, on January 2, Korsakov announced that the BlueWallet team had added a Lightning-powered App (Lapp) Browser to allow users "to interact with Lightning-powered apps with less friction."

Apple Watch Support

A blog post on April 9 brought the news that the BlueWallet team was experimenting with adding support for the Apple Watch:

"We have been playing with one more experiment. This time for Apple Watch users. At the moment, we are in the final phase of testing. But it should come out this month. First iteration will be very rudimentary, with the paring and enclave with your iPhone and the receive feature for onchain wallets. Next iterations will include more features :)"

This news did not come as a complete shock to all BlueWallet users since the team had provided a pretty good clue that they were working on this feature as far back as March 19:

However, it was not until yesterday (May 5) that this watch app got its first general release. Here are its main features:

  • wallets:
    • "individual wallet details and basic functionality"
    • "access all your wallets from your watch"
  • transactions: "see latest transactions from your wallets"
  • Lightning payments: "receive payments directly
 on your watch"

Here is one happy BlueWallet user tweeting about how easy it is to use the app to generate Lightning invoices on the apple Watch:

 

Featured Image Courtesy of BlueWallet Services

Bitfinex Wants to Offer 100x Leverage For Crypto Derivatives Trading

Michael LaVere
  • Bitfinex will offer 100x leverage trading for cryptocurrency derivatives
  • According to the exchange's CTO, the hedging product is "ready for prime time"

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex revealed it wants to offer derivatives products with up to 100x leverage for cryptocurrency traders. 

Hedging On Cryptocurrency Derivatives

Chief Technology Officer Paolo Ardoino told The Block on June 25 that the cryptocurrency exchange was ready to ship a 100x leverage product for certain users. According to the post, the project has been under development for some time and is “now ready for prime time.” 

The product was referenced in last month’s whitepaper published by Bitfinex for its $1 billion private token sale of LEO, stating

“Qualified Bitfinex account holders will be able to trade a new hedging product through a derivatives wallet.”

The whitepaper originally claimed that the new hedging mechanism would be released by the end of June, a timetable that fits with Ardoino’s “ready for prime time” statement. 

Ardoino confirmed that only “verified” customers will be allowed access to the product, given the risks involved in such highly leveraged trades. 

The CTO also took to Twitter to quell user concerns over Bitfinex’s existing 3.3x margin trading. Ardoino explained 100x leverage will be “optional,” and that their current leveraged trading products will be unaffected by the release. 

Big Risk, Big Reward

Bitfinex is looking to compete with rival exchange BitMEX, who already offers 100x leverage through its bitcoin perpetual swap contract. However, Bitfinex claims its product is designed as a legitimate hedging tool for clients, rather than a gambling mechanism. 

Max Boonen, CEO of trading firm B2C2, believes the product will only appeal to retail hedgers, as large investors will shy away from the risks involved in 100x trading. 

According to Boonen, 

“There’s nothing wrong inherently about 100x. But as a commercial hedger you want lower leverage margin. The larger investor wouldn’t want to take the risk of 100X, typically. They don’t want to go balls to the wall.”

The cryptocurrency derivatives market has been heating up. Last week bitcoin-bull Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital announced plans to offer cryptocurrency options contracts.

Binance has also reportedly been exploring futures trading. On June 24, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted the exchange had executed its first margin liquidation for a BTC short.