It's been a minute since I've been genuinely excited about a piece of tech. Last night at a meetup here in NYC, developer Will O'Beirne demo'd a web extension fueled by the Lightning Network he built called Joule that immediately had my mind racing. Definitely check out his demo from the Chaincode Lightning Residency when you get a chance. You'll be getting a peek into the future. The extension is still very rough around the edges and may not be user-friendly for the masses at the moment, but I can easily see this maturing into a product that changes the way we use the Internet over the next decade.
The beauty of Joule is that Will has built it with UX in mind from the start. This shined through in his presentation last night as we watched Will pay for articles on Y'alls without having to "ALT + Tab" out of the browser to a Lighting Wallet to incite the payment. The extension noticed that Y'alls was willing to communicate with it and was able to produce an invoice that could be paid instantly without having to leave the browser, unlocking the article, and creating a seamless user experience. I immediately had flashes of the Wall Street Journal (a very mediocre blog IMO) making it so their site could communicate with the Joule extension and offer users the ability to pay per article in seconds to avoid the shit show that is the conversion rate of the paywall a user is bombarded with when they try to read an article.
Beyond these simple micropayments use cases, Will has a vision for WebLN; a complete stack of tools that would allow browsers to work with individual Lightning nodes, creating a quasi-digital passport which will allow individuals to carry their reputation from site to site. This is a design and way of thinking inspired by the Ethereum project's Web3 stack. So, kudos to them for driving crazy UX innovation in the space, paving the way for Bitcoin to ultimately adopt these user-friendly flows.
I have a feeling Joule, or something very much like it, is going to explode onto the scene in the next 18-months. Quote me. And go help Will build this thing if you are willing and able. He's been ripping it solo up to this point. Doing a helluva job if you ask Uncle Marty.
Was so jacked up I could barely write today.
sry not sry for my tardiness