Virtual private network (VPN) service TorGuard has begun accepting Lightning Network payments on the main bitcoin network, even though the technology has yet to receive an official production release.
TorGuard made the announcement on Twitter, stating that “testnet is so boring” and telling users to contact customer support for details on how to purchase the VPN service using a Lightning Network payment, and a reddit user confirmed that customer support was helping process these transactions.
As CCN.com has reported, the Lightning Network is a much-anticipated technology that will allow bitcoin users to execute near-instant transactions at virtually no cost. This is accomplished by building a layer of smart contracts on top of bitcoin.
Simply put, two users can establish and deposit coins into a payment channel and make transactions without having to publish payment information on the bitcoin blockchain. Although the transactions take place off-chain, the smart contracts will ensure that neither party can behave maliciously and remove the coins from the payment channel without the other party’s consent.
Though the Lightning Network has been in development for several years, anticipation for its official release has ramped up in recent months as bitcoin’s median transaction fees have soared as high as $34, according to data from BitInfoCharts (the median fee at the time of writing was $18).
It’s important to stress that although it is possible to set up a Lightning Network node on the mainnet, the software is not production ready and may contain bugs that could cause users to lose funds. TorGuard, however, said that it will cover the loss of funds when sending them payments using this nascent technology.
Despite the fact this technology is still in testing, TorGuard is not the first company to accept mainnet payments over the Lightning Network. In December, Lightning Network developer Alex Bosworth completed a mainnet transaction with mobile top-up service Bitrefill while at the company’s offices.
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