Late last year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down from his position to give his full attention to his other company, Square (now called Block), which was increasingly invested in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency — just like Dorsey himself. Now we’re starting to see the results of Block’s embrace of crypto as Cash App announced this morning that it’s integrated with the Lightning Network, allowing US users to send free bitcoin to anyone around the world.

The feature had been slowly rolled out to Cash App customers for today, but Cash App hadn’t made a formal announcement yet. The company says the rollout is expected to be completed in the “coming weeks” and will reach all US Cash App customers.

Once live, Cash App users will be able to send bitcoin internationally to any third-party compatible wallet, including those for family or friends or a self-managed wallet like the likes of Chivo Wallet, BlueWallet or Muun Wallet. Users can also send bitcoin to any merchant that accepts Lightning Network payments, at no cost. While not yet a regular activity, a few merchants have started accepting Lightning payments, allowing customers to do things like order a pizza through the Lightning Network or purchase gift cards.

The integration of the Lightning Network into the Cash app could also help bolster the growing creator economy, as fans can send bitcoin to show their support for an individual creator or if they accept Lightning payments.

Image Credits: Lightning Network

Cash App explains the advantages of this system, noting that typical Bitcoin network transactions take some time to process and see higher fees, compared to Lightning Network – whose name is meant to convey its faster capabilities. The transactions also take place independently of the blockchain (off-chain), which helps to reduce the costs, time and energy consumption that would otherwise be involved. But the Lightning Network will still benefit from the technology and decentralization of the blockchain as the transactions taking place on the network are later consolidated and recorded in the main Bitcoin blockchain.

Dorsey herself had expressed an interest in the Lightning Network, tweet in 2019 that it was a “cool example” of the experiments taking place among #BitcoinTwitter users. More recently, Block’s bitcoin-focused company, Spiral, showcased its Lightning Development Kit (LDK), which provides a way to easily integrate bitcoin payments into any application. The new Lightning integration on Cash App is also powered by Spiral’s LDK — and Cash App is also the first and largest payment app integrated with LDK right now, the company notes.

The rollout of LDK also exemplifies Block’s strategic vision in action, where one arm can build the tools that will be adopted by other Block companies.

This post Block’s Cash app uses Lightning Network for free bitcoin payments – TechCrunch

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