Genesis Coin and Athena’s Tuesday, November 7 announcement confirmed their intentions to install the Lightning Network technology within 100 Bitcoin automated teller machines (ATMs). The Bitcoin ATM providers target leveraging the Lightning upgrade to facilitate smaller and more frequent transactions in El Salvador.
Genesis Coin and Athena target rolling out the initial phase by December 2023. The remaining batch of Bitcoin ATMs would have the Lightning Network installation in the 2024 first quarter.
Lightning Network to Support Smaller Transactions Cheaply
Lightning Network involves a layer two solution running on the primary Bitcoin network to facilitate quicker and cheaper crypto-related transactions. Its facilitative input is evident in the wallets and crypto exchanges already utilizing the second-layer technology.
Lightning Network was earlier intended to enter El Salvador in 2021 through the payments application Strike. Strike planned to help the Salvadoran government to facilitate citizens’ utilization of Bitcoin. However, Strike exited the project, though it would later relocate the headquarters to the country.
Genesis Coin president Doug Carillo indicated that rolling out the Lightning technology would enable Salvadorans to retain more money in their pocket. The chief strategist in the largest white-label Bitcoin ATM software provider indicated that Lightning upgrade would support the execution of smaller transactions frequently.
A revisit of Coin ATM Radar data illustrates that El Salvador hosts 215 Bitcoin ATMs. The machines ease the execution of the acquisition and sale of Bitcoins. Most of the Bitcoin ATMs are Chivo-branded, identified with the Bitcoin wallet brand of the Salvadoran government. The installation of Lightning technology will enable users to complete buy and sell transactions at smaller fees.
Athena Bitcoin Global chief executive Matias Goldenhorn reiterated the firm’s plans to roll out the technology in its ATMs across El Salvador and Latin America. The executive considers that the move will guarantee customers access to faster and more efficient transactions.
Lightning-Enabled ATMs to Legitimise Bitcoin Transactions
Goldenhorn considers the Lightning-enabled ATMs to support Bitcoin adoption in the Central American country. While the country made Bitcoin a legal tender, the adoption rates are mild. Athena Bitcoin and Genesis Coin are tapping their experience and expertise to empower El Salvador customers. Goldenhorn added that the duo targets rolling out the project to boost remittance opportunities and cross-border payments.
El Salvador has been active in setting pace since making Bitcoin a legal tender in 2021. The announcement came after President Nayib Bukele floated the idea during the Miami Bitcoin Conference 2021.
The integration of Lightning Network is aimed at boosting Bitcoin-based transactions since El Salvadorans can make smaller yet frequent payments. The previous attempt involved gifting Salvadorans Bitcoin worth $30 via the Chivo wallets installed within their phones. Alternative receipt of Bitcoin involved visiting the Bitcoin ATMs.
A random visit to El Salvador discovered that few businesses accepted crypto-related payments. However, major franchises, including Starbucks and McDonalds, readily accepted crypto payments. With this understanding, Salvadorans cash the free Bitcoin to purchase goods.
Integrating Lightning Network will minimize fees incurred to execute transactions while supporting the capability to make them frequently. The upgrade rollout would likely fuel the Bitcoin utilization in the nation that has so far stalled. Its completion will give President Bukele’s initiative to unveil Bitcoin as legal tender, missing ground for legitimacy.