What are LApps? An Intro to Bitcoin Lightning Network Applications

Lightning Network Applications Explained

The Lightning Network (LN) is a secondary protocol built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain aiming to solve the scaling problem. The LN uses payment channels to enable fast and low cost transactions between parties, with only the final net balance settled on the main Bitcoin blockchain when the channel is closed. Check out the video below for more info.

However, the LN is not just limited to enabling faster payments. In the same way that decentralized applications (DApps) are built on the Ethereum network, DApps for Bitcoin can be built on top of the LN.

These Lightning Network applications are known as LApps and could drastically change how many view and interact with Bitcoin. Not only because LApps could lead to greater adoption, but also because miniscule transaction fees make micropayments viable, this in turn enables a whole new host of potential applications for Bitcoin.

Have Many LApps Been Created Yet?

Despite the fact that LN Beta was only rolled out on March 15th 2018, developers have been hard at work building new and exciting LApps for Bitcoin beyond simple wallet and payment channel applications. Below we have hand-picked what we think are some of the most interesting and useful LApps to have emerged so far.

  • FileBazaar – One of seven new LApps created by Nadav Idgi, FileBazaar is a pay per use system for buying & selling digital files including images, videos and documents. 
  • WooCommerce Plugin – A plugin to allow website owners who use WooCommerce to accept Bitcoin Lightning Payments.
  • CoinMall – A sleek marketplace for buying and selling digital products with Bitcoin payments via LN. Priducts for sale include online accounts, gaming goods, software, online services and more.
  • Y’alls – Allows writers to monetize their content through readers giving Bitcoin micropayments. Y'alls is a LApp that uses Lightning Network to enable Bitcoin mircopayments for bloggers
  • Lightning Tip – One of several LApps for tipping with Bitcoin via the LN.
  • Hammercoin – An online RPG reminiscent of Minecraft and early Runescape. The in-game economy relies on Bitcoin LN to buy and sell items like armor and weapons, plus the best players receive daily Bitcoin rewards! A LApp that uses Bitcoin for the in game economy

As you can see, there are already a diverse range of LApps that have been created! You can check out more by heading to the full LApp directory at the developers community site.

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