Stockholm-based start-up Bitrefill has released a new service that should make it easier for users to open new payment channels on the Lightning Network.
The service, called Thor, will allow users to open payment channels with Bitrefill’s well-connected Lightning nodes. Users will also be able to set their own custom channel capacities for payments – from 300,000 to 16,000,000 Satoshis.
Introducing Thor, the new custom Lightning channel-opening service from @Bitrefill. Connect anyone to the Lightning Network with an app and a link.
— Bitrefill (@bitrefill) January 9, 2019
The new service will open empty Lightning channels to users from Bitrefill’s own node on the Lightning Network. Once a channel with adequate capacity is opened, users will have the ability to send and receive payments over the Lightning Network (via Bitrefill’s node).
The Thor service is ideal for people who want an easy and quick way to get set up on the Lightning Network to start receiving Lightning payments as tips or other earnings.
Because Bitrefill’s node is so highly interconnected in the Lightning Network, Thor allows anyone to receive coins via Lightning transactions with only a mobile app and a link, even if they have never used Bitcoin before.
Are there any limitations?
The Bitrefill team said that “each Thor channel will be kept open on our side for 30 days, potentially longer if there’s activity on it.”
The reason for the limitation is due to the service coming at a cost for Bitrefill. They said this was due to the fact “that opening an empty channel requires us to lock up our Bitcoin into your channel and keep them there.”
Any Bitcoin locked in an unused channel would at some point incur a cost for the node operator.
It’s been an exciting week for the Lightning Network, as Coin Rivet recently brought you the story of how easy it now is to send and receive Lightning payments with Blue Wallet.
With the continued innovation from the Bitrefill team, this may turn out to be a breakout year for this Layer 2 scaling solution for the BTC blockchain.