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The Lightning Development Kit is Spiral BTC’s latest offering to the community. And to the world. The LDK is “The simplest way to integrate Lightning into your Bitcoin wallet.” It’s free to use and it contains building blocks that anyone can integrate with their product. The big news, however, is Jack Dorsey’s puppet. The company, Spiral BTC, released this video to promote the Lightning Development Kit’s release. And Jack Dorsey’s puppet stars in it.
Is it hilarious or cringe? Opinions vary. One thing’s for sure, however, it captured the mase’s attention and got eyeballs on the Lightning Development Kit project. So, it definitely worked as a marketing tool and the Bitcoin community should cherish it. Even though the Spiral team says that the main layer is too slow, “sucks,” and it’s “painful to use.” Nothing could be further from the truth, layer one does perfectly what it needs to do. If you want speed and ease of use, just go up to layer two. That’s where the LDK lives.
Related Reading | Jack Dorsey: Square Could Build Bitcoin Mining System
The project’s documentation defines it as:
“Lightning Development Kit (LDK) is a generic library which allows you to build a Lightning node without needing to worry about getting all of the Lightning state machine, routing, and on-chain punishment code (and other chain interactions) exactly correct. LDK tends to be suitable for use cases where a degree of customization is desired, e.g. your own chain sync, your own key management and/or your own storage/backup logic.”
On the Lightning Development Kit’s introductory page, they promise the product was “designed from the ground up to be easily customized to your application needs.” Also, “as lightweight as you need it to be and optimized to run on all embedded devices such as mobile phones, IoT devices, PoS terminals and more.” Also, and this is very important, the use the Muun approach and help you create a single wallet experience. What does this mean?
“No need to create separate Bitcoin & Lightning wallets, forcing users to backup an additional recovery phrase. Instead, we let you define your own wallet and create one unified experience.”
The company used to be called Square Crypto. When Jack Dorsey abandoned Twitter to focus on other ventures, it change its name to Spiral BTC. The aim was to convey better what their mission is all about. “Bitcoin is the best money. It should be used like it. We build and fund free, open-source projects aimed at making bitcoin the planet’s preferred currency.” When all of this happened, our sister site Bitcoinist gave us the 411:
“The year is almost at its close and as such companies have begun to make plans for the coming year. For Spiral, the year 2022 will be a year of expansion as it will be working on a number of projects in the new year. To do this, Spiral (formerly Square Crypto) plans to double the number of full-time developers in the coming year.
Some of the projects the devs will be working on include the Lightning Development Kit (LDK), the Bitcoin Development Kit (BDK), the grant program, and the Bitcoin Design Guide and Community.“
That’s right, they sponsor the fantastic Bitcoin Design Guide and already released a Bitcoin Development Kit for those who wish to build on layer one. They also give grants to Bitcoin developers, designers, and great projects like BTCPay Server, Lightning Signer, The Eye of Satoshi, and the widely used Mempool.
BTC price chart for 12/07/2021 on Gemini | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
As soon as the rumor of Jack Dorsey leaving Twitter hit… well… Twitter, Bitcoinist ran a piece that praised his contributions to the space and speculated on what he would do next:
“The allegedly soon-to-be former Twitter CEO is perhaps best compared to Hal Finney in terms of the positive impact he has had on the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Both of have famously tweeted about “Running Bitcoin,” and both are now names nearly as synonymous with the top ranked crypto asset as Satoshi Nakamoto themselves.
Finney’s legacy has sadly ended, but could Dorsey’s truly just be at the very beginning in terms of what the business entrepreneur could bring to the overall Bitcoin ecosystem?”
Related Reading | Is Hyperinflation Inevitable? Jack Dorsey Says It’ll “Change Everything”
Before that, Jack Dorsey’s other Bitcoin-focused company TBD announced its first big project. The tbDEX will be a decentralized exchange and liquidity protocol. When the company released the whitepaper, NewsBTC reported on it and described the project as:
“The tbDEX aims “to build bridges between the fiat and cryptocurrency worlds,” that much is clear. We still live in a Fiat world and, if Bitcoin is going to succeed, we need new, simpler, and cheaper ways to interact with said world. “There are serious challenges to realizing this vision. Fiat rails are regulated, and no interface with either the traditional monetary system or “real world” can be completely trustless.”
At the Bitcoin 2021 Conference, Jack Dorsey said “Bitcoin changes absolutely everything. I don’t think there is anything more important in my lifetime to work on”. And now, he’s laser-focused on it. Things are moving fast since he left Twitter. It wouldn’t surprise us if the tbDEX releases a working version soon. They didn’t announce any timeline, though. Only one thing’s for sure. When the decentralized exchange is ready for the world to see, TBD should use Jack Dorsey’s puppet to promote it.
Feature Image: Screenshot from the promotional video | Charts by TradingView
Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed his bitcoin investments and outlook in a live stream with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood.
Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed Bitcoin during a live-streamed session of The ₿ Word event, saying that he supports and holds the original cryptocurrency, as does his aerospace company SpaceX.
“[Bitcoin] has an open ledger, which is quite good. But transaction volume is low, transaction cost is high and usability for the average person is not yet very good but has a lot of potential,” Musk said, while wearing a t-shirt that touted Bitcoin as the pinnacle of monetary evolution. “But on balance I support Bitcoin… I do own bitcoin and Tesla owns bitcoin, SpaceX owns bitcoin.
Musk has made mixed public statements about Bitcoin in the past, calling himself a supporter, seeing Tesla purchase $1.5 billion worth of BTC, renouncing the ability for Tesla customers to make purchases in bitcoin over misguided environmental concerns, then walking those statements back somewhat. He is an outspoken supporter of the altcoin project Doge.
During the panel, Musk continued to tout alternative cryptocurrency projects like Ethereum and Doge, but also acknowledged that Bitcoin’s throughput and scalability could be improved via Layer 2 platforms like the Lightning Network. He noted that Tesla is likely to resume bitcoin payments as a higher proportion of miners utilize renewable energy sources.
“Bitcoin with a Layer 2 system could scale to do a vast number of transactions,” Musk said. “I want to do a little more diligence to confirm that the percentage of renewable energy usage [in bitcoin mining] is most likely at or above 50% and that there is a trend toward increasing that number, and if so Tesla will resume accepting bitcoin… Most likely, Tesla would resume accepting bitcoin.”
He also noted that the only significant assets he personally owns consist of stock in his companies, bitcoin, ether and doge, with bitcoin being the largest and most profitable of his cryptocurrency holdings.
“If the price of bitcoin goes down, I lose money… I might pump, but I don’t dump,” Musk said. “SpaceX, Tesla and I own bitcoin… The companies just own bitcoin and the bitcoin I own is worth much more than the Ethereum or Doge.”
Musk was joined in the session, “Bitcoin As A Tool For Economic Empowerment,” by Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, ARK Investment Management CEO Cathie Wood and Square Crypto Lead Steve Lee, who moderated it.
Dorsey, who has been more consistently favorable toward Bitcoin in his public statements and work, highlighted Bitcoin’s transformative nature as a currency that is global, permissionless and native to the internet.
“When I saw Bitcoin in 2009, you see a chance to replace the whole foundation,” Dorsey explained. “It really just opens the aperture and that is what I want to see in my lifetime, is a currency that is standard and sound for the internet that everyone can use.”
Wood, whose firm has been stockpiling bitcoin exposure this month, emphasized bitcoin’s current value propositions from an investment standpoint and the remarkable economic outlook of its development community.
“The store of value is a very big role, and means of exchange with apps built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, we think are going to become more of a reality,” Wood said, describing where her positive outlook on BTC as an investment comes from.
“I’ve had the honor of meeting Bitcoin Core developers,” she added later. “They know economic history better than anyone I’ve ever met.”
Interest in the panel was sparked when Musk agreed to participate with Dorsey via a Twitter thread in June. Musk’s attendance was confirmed by The ₿ Word on July 19.
The ₿ Word was hosted by the Crypto Council For Innovation, a group formed with the intent of lobbying legislators and securing more support for cryptocurrency businesses. It was founded by Square, Fidelity, Coinbase and Paradigm in April.
Popular crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX has announced a $150,000 grant for Calvin Kim — a Korean-based Bitcoin scaling researcher.
The grant comprises the second instance in which BitMEX has backed Kim’s research, with the exchange donating $30,000 to Kim in August 2020.
For his current research, Kim plans to implement Utreexo into Bitcoin deployments using the Go and Rust programming languages respectively, while also working on “improving the initial block download time in Bitcoin.”
Utreexo is a Bitcoin scaling solution and hash accumulator that Kim has been working on since mid-2019, with the protocol’s design having first been proposed by MIT Digital Currency Initiative researcher Thaddeus Dryja — who also co-authored the Lightning Network whitepaper.
The new grant was issued by BitMEX in collaboration with the non-profit Human Rights Foundation, or HRF — an organization that supports human rights activism globally — with the HRF contributing $50,000 on top of BitMEX’s $100,000 one-year grant for Kim. The researcher stated:
“This year, with the financial support of BitMEX and the Human Rights Foundation, I intend to continue what I was doing last year and continue moving the Utreexo project to something a user can download and use.”
In a May 31 announcement published BitMEX’s research branch, the HRF noted that it has long “worked to promote human rights on the Korean peninsula through technology,” and that it hopes to inspire others from the region to get involved with Bitcoin.
“It is exciting for HRF to have the opportunity to bolster Calvin’s efforts and we hope that his work can inspire others from the region to get involved with Bitcoin and contribute to its mission to provide open-source freedom money for the world,” HRF said.
According to the organization’s website, the HRF support Bitcoin because it “can be a tool of freedom for human rights defenders facing hyperinflation or financial surveillance.”
The HRF’s $50,000 grant to Kim is part of the organization’s $210,000 Bitcoin Development Fund, which also included collaborations with Gemini exchange and Square Crypto in support of developer, Dhruv Mehta.
Mehta received $50,000 to work on increasing Bitcoin’s censorship-resistance through BIP324 — a peer-to-peer message transport protocol that aims to protect Bitcoin peers against man-in-the-middle attacks on seed nodes.
The fund also included $50,000 of support to Nur Khalil, a Nigerian Bitcoin developer who develops Bitcoin wallet software for the Nigerian context.
Steve Lee of Square Crypto sees major Bitcoin application progress on the horizon, dismisses energy FUD and looks forward to Bitcoin 2021.
Multi-billion dollar financial services company Square touches Bitcoin in several ways. It holds more than 8,000 BTC on its balance sheet. Its mobile payments platform Cash App, which lets users buy bitcoin instantly, netted some $495 million in gross profit in the first quarter of 2021. And its CEO, Jack Dorsey, also runs the most popular social media platform for Bitcoin discussion in Twitter.
But no arm of the company is more directly involved in fostering the Bitcoin network than Square Crypto. This branch, led by project manager Steve Lee, provides educational content like “The Book Of Bitcoin Mythology,” attempts to improve the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining through a clean energy initiative and propels technical work on the Bitcoin protocol and its second layers through development kits and financial grants to developers.
In early 2020, Square Crypto established a model of supporting free and open-source software projects for Bitcoin, and its greatest impact may be in how other industry stakeholders have adopted this model as well.
“I am extremely pleased with the growth of funding and support for open-source Bitcoin work,” Lee told Bitcoin Magazine. “All but one of our grantees are being funded for the first time, which has led to a substantial increase in the overall open-source Bitcoin talent pool. Organizations like the Human Rights Foundation, Brink, OKCoin, BitMEX, Kraken, Paradigm, Gemini and Coinbase have followed suit. The result is a much more robust support base with the power to sustain development for a long time to come.”
In addition to these grants, Lee pointed to Square Crypto’s Bitcoin and Lightning development kits, as well as its Bitcon Design Guide, as resources that will expedite high-quality Bitcoin applications. He said that he’s seeing developers use these tools to build products that will be launched this year, potentially driving an “explosion” of new applications built with them over the next few years.
At the moment, it seems that many institutional groups of Square’s size that are involved in Bitcoin are being forced to reckon with general misunderstandings about the network’s energy consumption. While Bitcoin mining is an energy-intensive practice, it is one that drives significant renewable energy use and it barely scratches the carbon emissions of industries like the legacy financial sector.
Recently, Square published a white paper laying out the case for a clean energy future driven by the incentives unique to Bitcoin. That vision appears to be in line with Lee’s at Square Crypto as well.
“I am confident that Bitcoin isn’t a threat to the environment,” Lee said. “In fact, I believe that Bitcoin miners could be the catalyst for converting the entire energy grid to renewables. The level of concern about Bitcoin’s energy consumption is understandable, especially since it is often framed without context. If you take what is reported at face value, you might conclude that Bitcoin cannot scale without consuming astronomical amounts of resources. But this isn’t accurate. Technologies like the Lightning Network make Bitcoin capable of handling exponentially more transactions without consuming any additional energy. And that’s just one example.”
Lee will be sharing more of his thoughts on the present and future of the network at the upcoming Bitcoin 2021 event. When asked what critical conversations should be taking place there, he had a simple and straightforward response, demonstrating a decidedly maximalist point of view.
“Why proof of work is essential to decentralized money,” he said. “There is simply no substitute.”
Lee will share more about Square Crypto’s work during the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami on June 4 and 5. Make sure that you set a reminder for the Bitcoin 2021 day one YouTube live stream and one for the Bitcoin 2021 day two YouTube live stream now.
Square Crypto, the open-source Bitcoin development arm of payments company Square, is supporting one of Bitcoin’s most popular open-source blockchain explorers, mempool.space.
The project is run by the pseudonymous Wiz and softsimon, who will be receiving $100,000 from Square Crypto in a year-long grant denominated in BTC.
“Not even two weeks after announcing bitcoin-denominated grants, we’re giving @wiz and @softsimon_ @mempool 14,043,207 sats … a month for 12 months,” Square Crypto tweeted.
Bitcoin block explorers allow users to browse through publicly-recorded bitcoin transactions. The Bitcoin mempool, or memory pool, is where unconfirmed transactions are stored in a Bitcoin node while they “wait” to be validated. Mempool.space allows users to explore the state of the mempool and these pending transactions, allowing Bitcoiners to estimate transaction fee rates and determine wait times for unconfirmed transactions, thus helping them set priorities with their own transaction fees.
Mempool.space displays the queue of unconfirmed blocks, including the median fee rate of each transaction in that block, its size and the estimated amount of time before it’s confirmed. It also displays the most-recently confirmed blocks, the amount of unconfirmed transactions entering the mempool and much more.
As an open-source tool available to all Bitcoiners, mempool.space seems to align clearly with Square Crypto’s mission of financially supporting such projects. Its previous grants have gone to supporting projects like CoinSwap, The Eye of Satoshi and BTCPay Server.