Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong owes me $100. Because he doesn’t know how to use the Lightning Network, an instant payment solution built on top of Bitcoin
Armstrong, who has been building in the Bitcoin (BTC) space since 2012, recently tweeted that he would pay people who provided the “best examples” of using the cryptocurrency in Africa. “If you use crypto in Africa, reply with a short video (<30 seconds) or photo of how you use it," Armstrong wrote. "Some of the best examples get $100 in crypto."
After all, it’s the CEO of Coinbase, so I shared a video of myself using Bitcoin in Africa, which was part of a 30-second segment of a recent Cointelegraph documentary covering Bitcoin in Senegal.
The tweet quickly became the most-liked and most-shared response to Armstrong’s question. (Importantly, the tweet referred to Bitcoin in Africa, not crypto in Africa, and demonstrated the ease and speed of the Lightning network.)
However, despite over 600 likes and 100 retweets, Armstrong seems to have ignored my submission. The next most popular submission had only 50 likes So, I reached out to some key opinion leaders, creators and influencers in the Bitcoin community to expand on the tweet. Wicked, an anonymous bitcoin academic and data analyst, tagged Armstrong in a post accusing him of “actively ignoring the #Bitcoin Lightning Network.”
Wicked very kindly drew Brian’s attention to my tweet video about Bitcoin in Africa. The tweet, and Armstrong’s confirmation that “Lightning is awesome and something we will integrate,” led to reports of Coinbase’s subsequent development around the world. He then tweeted that he had sent me the money.
Here’s where things get weird. Armstrong said he gave me $100. He said he sent $100 to the Lightning address shown in my Twitter profile bio: [email protected]
Now, if you’ve never used the Lightning Network before, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this address for an email address. But will the CEO of Coinbase make that mistake? Could Bitcoin OG fail to recognize the request in my bio — which says “Send BTC to [email protected]”, surrounded by the lightning bolt emoji — as my Lightning address?
Side note: Running a Bitcoin node is mildly technical, and sending money to the Bitcoin blockchain for the first time is a bit nerve-wracking, as the transaction takes about 10 minutes to confirm and we live in an instant world. But using the Lightning Network in 2023? It’s brain-dead simple. A walk in the park. seriously
“That’s a big call, Joe,” I hear you say.
Yes, it is. And I’ve got the receipts to prove it. The Lightning Network is so easy to use that I stand on the street in locations around the world handing them bitcoins in brand-new Lightning wallets — and I film their reactions.
The most common comments are “I didn’t know it was so easy” and “Wow, it’s so fast.” The videos are on my YouTube channel. Here’s a video shot in France for the Cointelegraph YouTube channel where I gave out Bitcoin:
So, please — don’t pretend Armstrong is overwhelmed by the complications of sending money to my Lightning address. Furthermore, interestingly, Bitcoin advocates worldwide saw my tweet and were happy to send me sats to show that my Lightning address is alive and well.
Back to the story. Danny Scott, CEO of CoinCorner — a Bitcoin and Lightning company — was quick to point out Armstrong. Twitter That he made the mistake of confusing Bitcoin and email, because Coinbase offers a “send to email” function.
Related: Ethereum’s Shanghai Fork Is Coming, But That Doesn’t Mean Investors Should Dump ETH
“Of course, we know the address,” Scott told Cointelegraph in an email [that Joe shared] A power address, but obviously not everyone does.”
“So I think Brian knows very little about Lightning right now, especially LNURL, Lightning Addresses and other innovations being developed, which is perfectly fine, he’s confused, it happens, now we hope he helps himself and the industry with substance and long-term value. , their focus on Bitcoin and Lightning.
It’s true: Coinbase offers trading for over 250 different cryptocurrencies — that’s a lot of tokens to keep track of. And as Scott added, “I can appreciate how busy he must be – this industry never sleeps, and running a bitcoin company myself, I know that feeling even on a small scale.”
To give Brian and ultimately Coinbase the benefit of the doubt, I waited a few days before writing this article. I’ve tweeted Brian repeatedly (no reply) and I’ve also reached out to the Coinbase press team. They told me they’d get to the bottom of it, but “my guess is that Brian is probably batching the dispatches at certain times.” A day passed after this message (giving more benefit of doubt) and they did not send an explanation.
Related: Coinbase wins $470K restitution in insider trading case
The press team’s email was particularly left-field because it mentioned “batching.” Batching is consolidating multiple payments into a single transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain, not the Layer-2 Lightning Network. Again, they are not familiar with lightning. This adds insult to injury: Could it be that the Lightning Network is simply not on Coinbase’s radar?
It’s been three days since Armstrong sent the money, and there have been some simply wonderful memes from the Bitcoin and broader crypto community.
Armstrong has been active on Twitter, while his company has been busy launching new projects and winning insider trading cases for more than 250 crypto projects Coinbase hosts.
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my $100. But I’m increasingly concerned that billionaire, crypto OG and Coinbase CEO Armstrong struggled to find a Lightning address.
Joe is Joined Cointelegraph as a reporter in 2021. He holds an MA in French and Spanish from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Languages from Cinésés Po Leon.
This article is for general information purposes and should not and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.