Over the weekend, this demo flew down my TweetDeck and caught my eye immediately. If you clicked the link and have just watched the demo, what you're looking at is someone gaining access to a private WiFi network by paying some satoshis via the Lightning Network. Not going to lie, I was pretty jacked after watching it and immediately shared it a couple of times on Twitter. The ability to loan out your WiFi network to others looking for some access to the Information Highway for satoshis seems like a dope, futuristic capability that highlights BTC/LN's utility very straightforwardly. Paying microtransactions to access WiFi without having to go through a shitty service like gogo, which gauges users, seems like a giant step forward.
However, my hype high was quickly brought back down to Earth after Dan Elitzer, friend of the program, pointed out that this proof of concept was brought to the market in 2013. However, this proof of concept was run with onchain transactions. Dan's rebuttal led to a very productive conversation IMO.
Dan brings up some very good points, but this scenario begs the question; is this time different? And after some reflection, I believe the best answer is, as Dan points out in the last tweet in the above thread, "yeah, but just a bit."
There has obviously been more adoption and awareness of Bitcoin since 2013. It would be hard to deny that. On top of this, the Lightning Network now exists, which makes this application considerably more practical in a world in which Bitcoin block space is scarce and will probably come with some added friction for this particular use case in the form of increased fees.
However, with all of the above being true, we are probably still a ways away from this application being adopted en masse. There simply aren't enough people using BTC/LN at the moment. It's probably advantageous to temper our expectations (Uncle Marty especially) when these new toys are released. Even though I wholeheartedly believe that something like this will be ubiquitous in the future, we should be wary to act like it's emergence means it will find ubiquity anytime soon. Overpromising and underdelivering has plagued this "space" for the last decade.
What do you freaks think? Is this time different? Does the existence of LN enable a Cambrian explosion of innovation and building that will bring the masses to Bitcoin? Or is it just a fun toy that nerds are playing with?
Hope you freaks took the under in that game. Truly unenthusiastic. The slow cooked pork shoulder I made was dank though.